If you've been struggling with joint pain and aren't quite sure where to turn for relief, did you know that some foods can help? Beyond prescription medication or over-the-counter drugs, you can take steps every day to alleviate aches in your body by making changes to your diet. Try these foods today and fight against your chronic pain.
1. Eating Healthier
Simply eating healthier foods can contribute to weight loss, which in turn contributes to reduced joint pain. Every time you shed a pound, you reduce the load exerted onto your knee by four pounds. By reducing your caloric intake and choosing healthier options for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner, you can reduce significant amounts of pressure on your joints. This won't cure serious ailments like arthritis or regrowing lost cartilage, but losing weight can free up more of your movement and circulation while preventing any further damage that constant pressure causes. By eating healthier, you're taking command of your choices and steering your body in a better, less painful direction.
2. Dark and Leafy Greens
Vegetables like broccoli, kale, collard greens, spinach, bok choy, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower are filled with vitamins C and E. Vitamin C is necessary for the growth and repair of tissues in all parts of the body. It helps the body make collagen, a protein required for the development of tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels. Vitamin E is an antioxidant, and it can protect cells from certain kinds of damage. It's also involved in making red blood cells and keeping the blood vessels healthy. The functions of these two vitamins could help reduce joint pain. In addition, they also contain antioxidants and fibers that keep your body regular and reduce the inflammation that causes pain.
Many concur that the oils of fish can reduce some amount of joint pain. They contain omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of unsaturated fat that is considered beneficial to human health. Unlike saturated fats, which are known to raise cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart disease, they are thought to have a protective effect on the heart. Some research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids can help lower blood pressure and triglyceride levels and may help reduce the risk of developing blood clots. Additionally, they have the potential to strengthen the immune system and provide anti-inflammatory effects. Also found in fish is vitamin D, which can help your body, notably your bones, retain calcium. With strong bones, your body will be better supported internally, and this will ease joint pain.
4. Olive Oil
Olive oil contains a lot of heart-healthy fats and, most notably, oleocanthal. This substance is known to have positive, pain-reducing properties akin to those in several anti-inflammatory medications, like ibuprofen. It impedes the progression of harmful enzymes and reduces one's sensitivity to pain. When applicable, try to cook with extra virgin olive oil. This kind of oil keeps many nutrients often lost in excessive refining and processing practices. Other healthy oils include peanut, avocado, vegetable, and sunflower. Olive oil is preferred because it has more cooking applications. Like fish, it contains decent amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.
Nuts are an anti-inflammatory food that can reduce joint pain. This includes pistachios, pecans, peanuts, hazelnuts, and almonds. Eating more nuts will increase your levels of fiber, vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, magnesium, and zinc. You can increase your intake by snacking on them throughout the day or including them in complementary dishes, like stir-fry or salads. Out of all nuts, one of the healthiest varieties is walnuts. In addition to containing lots of omega-3s, your body will create a lesser amount of C-reactive protein. The C-reactive protein can cause inflammation that leads to arthritis and heart pain.
Fruits are a fantastic source of much-needed antioxidants, which can reduce joint pain by reducing internal inflammation. One of the best fruits you can eat to decrease joint pain is blueberries. They contain a flavonoid called anthocyanins, which can lower the amount of inflammation. Pineapple is another effective fruit because it contains bromelain, an enzyme linked to relieving pain caused by osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Citrus fruits are filled with vitamin C, which can better develop your body into a more limber and less stressed one. Apples are a key source of fiber and thought to contain many anti-inflammatory properties. Finally, you can try eating more tomatoes, as well. They contain healthy amounts of lycopene, which are suggested to reduce the risk of chronic illnesses, including but not limited to the kinds whose symptoms include severe joint pain.
7. Green Tea
People all over the world drink green tea, often because it is one of the healthiest drinks one can consume. The polyphenolic components in green tea are beneficial contributors to nutritional diets because they contain anti-inflammatory qualities. These compounds can also slow cartilage decay and destruction.
8. Foods to Avoid
Removing some foods can add to your overall sense of well-being. Processed foods are bad for you because they are usually high in calories, sugar, and fat. They can also contain chemicals and preservatives that are not good for your health. Put it all together, and you've got a recipe for joint inflammation.
Fried foods can also cause inflammation. Fried foods are generally high in fat and calories and can thus contribute to weight gain and obesity. Additionally, fried foods are often cooked in unhealthy oils, which can increase the amount of harmful cholesterol in the body and lead to other health problems.
You'll also want to avoid oils with high amounts of omega-6 fatty acids. They are pro-inflammatory and can contribute to conditions like heart disease, arthritis, and asthma. Some varieties of seeds, snack foods like corn chips, or fast food meals can carry copious amounts of omega-6s.