For those who suffer from arthritis or other diseases that cause inflammation, relief is often found in medicines or physical therapy exercises. However, one of the most simple ways to manage pain and symptoms is to modify their diet to specifically include foods for joint health. In this post, we’ll explain why there is a benefit to consuming certain types of foods, what types of foods are best for joint health and how to plan a practical, nutritious joint-friendly menu with help from the team at Western Washington Medical Group Arthritis Clinic.
Benefits of Eating Healthy Foods for Joints
Natural remedies are often the easiest to adapt to because many may already be a part of our daily life. In the case of arthritis and other ailments that affect our joints, healthy foods that are rich in certain acids or contain components that block the production of substances, which cause inflammation can reduce stiffness and minimize pain. Furthermore, once the lifestyle change becomes habit, it no longer feels like a treatment, just a pleasant way of managing symptoms.
The Kind of Foods to Eat to Promote Healthy Joints
The wonderful thing about nature is that it provides a lot of variety when it comes to healing foods. When searching for what to eat for joint health, one does not have to shop for expensive ingredients in specialty markets or search the internet to order items from faraway places. It’s simply a matter of balancing—or perhaps adding—common foods and spices to create the ideal nutritional formula that your body will respond to and that you’ll also enjoy eating. Here are several great options:
The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish like salmon, sardines, herring, tuna, cod, mackerel, anchovies, sea scallops and trout have been proven to decrease joint pain intensity, morning stiffness, tenderness and reduce the amount of anti-inflammatory medicines patients usually take to manage pain.
Nuts and Seeds
When you need a snack, nuts and seeds are the way to go. Also loaded with omega-3 fatty acids in addition to containing healthy monounsaturated fats and Vitamin B6, pistachios, walnuts, almonds, chia seeds and flax seeds offer a great alternative to processed convenience foods that can trigger inflammation.
When searching for the best fruits to add to your new joint health diet, a good rule of thumb is to go for color. Dark berries like blueberries and raspberries are high in anthocyanins, which help reject inflammatory responses within the body. Apples are also a good option that contain added benefits for gut health. And for a lycopene fix, eat ripe, red tomatoes and be sure to leave the skins on. You can also cook them to increase their power.
Whether you drizzle it on a salad or use it in place of traditional vegetable oil when cooking, olive oil is a wonderful unsaturated fat that is also rich with omega-3s. If possible, look for the most unprocessed variety you can find, such as Extra Virgin.
To season your meals, use garlic, onions, ginger and turmeric to give yourself an extra boost of anti-inflammatory help. They have all been proven to reduce arthritis symptoms and can spice up dishes in a very flavorful way.
Whether used as a base for recipes or sipped on its own, the components of bone broth make for a very smart addition to any joint health diet. They contain amino acids, chondroitin, glucosamine and calcium. The properties within bone broth mimic the natural collagen that occurs in our joints, tendons and ligaments, which helps us move easier and increase the ease of basic physical functions.
Incorporating dark, rich greens such as kale, spinach and collard greens into your meals will provide you with calcium to keep your bones strong and Vitamin C and beta-carotene to boost immunities. A wonderful addition to any joint health diet.
Though it should be enjoyed in moderation, indulging in dark chocolate can be part of a healthy anti-inflammatory diet. Just be sure to choose varieties low in sugar that are 70% cocoa or higher.
Consult With a Medical Professional
If you’d like to speak to a doctor about joint health or get help with menu planning for a joint health diet, schedule a Telehealth appointment with Western Washington Medical Group Arthritis Clinic team. For more general inquiries, complete this contact form.