Whether you suffer from arthritis, joint pain, or have lasting joint challenges from a sports injury, there are many ways to lessen your pain. While medication, surgery, and working with your orthopedic surgeon and physical therapist are important steps to recovery, you might not realize that your diet can also have lasting effects on your joints as well.
The foods you eat can have negative and positive effects on your joint health, so it is important for you to keep an eye on the foods you are eating. Here are seven foods that will help maintain your joint health to incorporate into your meals more frequently.
Omega-3, found in cold-water fish like salmon, has high-level evidence of helping with joint health. There are many different cold-water fish that provide high levels of omega 3, but salmon is one of the most popular, and easiest to incorporate into your everyday life.
Omega-3 can have anti-inflammatory effects and can also “have safety advantages in reducing cardiovascular risk via direct cardiovascular effects.” This is very important because of the increased cardiovascular risk in rheumatoid arthritis.
Overall, omega-3 has great effects on joint health and should be a pillar of your diet. Incorporate salmon into your diet by pan-frying it for dinner, incorporating it into salad recipes, and using it as the protein element of your weekly meal prep.
2. Brussel sprouts
Leafy greens like Brussel sprouts are great for joint health. Brussel sprouts and other leafy greens like spinach, broccoli and even cauliflower have a tiny sulfur-based nutrient within them called sulforaphane. Sulforaphane is great for joint health because it has anti-arthritis effects and modulates joint inflammation.
It has even been found to help prevent the onset of osteoarthritis, or at least to slow the progression of osteoarthritis within the body. Brussel sprouts, along with other leafy greens are very easy to incorporate into weekly meals, like as a side dish for dinner, air fried as a snack, or baked with other vegetables on a sheet pan.
This one is pretty exciting, considering garlic is not only really easy to incorporate into meals but also tastes amazing. While you may not be a huge fan of the vegetables, grains and nuts that make their way onto this list, garlic is a food that surprisingly can help maintain your joint health.
Garlic contains an anti-inflammatory called diallyl disulfide that works to limit pro-inflammatory cytokines in the body. Diallyl disulfide has many different positive effects on the body, like protecting the heart, endothelium, liver, lung, and kidney against cellular or tissue damages. Garlic can be introduced into your diet by adding it into pasta dishes, soups, as a sauce for chicken, and many other ways.
4. Black Beans
Beans of any variety are a great source of antioxidants, phytonutrients, fiber, and protein. They can help manage inflammation, especially if they are regularly consumed. Black beans specifically have a very high amount of protein, in comparison to other popular beans like pinto and red.
In this study, it was found that black beans and mulberry extract had anti-inflammatory attributes and helped prevent degenerative arthritis. Black beans, as a side dish or ingredient, are also very versatile and can be incorporated into a variety of cuisines, like Mexican-inspired dishes. Eating beans regularly is often recommended for patients with arthritis or for those who are wanting to maintain their joint health.
Much like salmon, almonds contain omega 3. Along with omega-3, nuts like almonds also contain fiber, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and Vitamin E, which all have anti-inflammatory effects. Cashews are often used as an anti-inflammatory and have antiarthritic potential, which may be attributed to the suppression of lysosomal enzymes and collagenase levels.
One important note to make is to make sure the cashews you are eating are unsalted because too much salt intake can have opposite inflammatory results. Along with snacking on unsalted cashews, cashew butter is another way to get your cashews daily. Cashew chicken is another popular and healthy recipe.
Quinoa is a gluten-free grain that has a high source of fiber. While food items with a lot of gluten and carbs like pasta, bread, crackers, bagels, etc. might cause inflammation, replacing these items with quinoa and other gluten-free grains may help. In this study, it was found that “a high intake of dietary total or grain fiber, particularly the recommended daily fiber average intake of 25 gm per day, is associated with a lower risk of developing moderate or severe knee pain over time.”
This is because of the anti-inflammatory nature of fiber. Quinoa is a great ingredient to introduce into your diet and it can be easy to do so. Quinoa can be eaten for breakfast like oatmeal, can be used as a side dish for dinners instead of rice, and can be added to smoothies.
Ginger is another ingredient that can reduce inflammation and can be introduced into your diet in so many different ways. Ginger has two different types of secondary metabolites, its gingerols and its essential oils. Originally, it was thought that only its gingerols had anti-inflammatory aspects, but this was found to be untrue. In a 2016 study, it was discovered that not only did the gingerols reduce inflammation, but the essential oil in ginger did as well.
The ginger’s secondary metabolites work as a “joint protective” against arthritis and joint pain. Remember that essential oils should never be consumed or ingested. Use ginger root in its whole food form in your cooking, which contains its beneficial properties. Ginger is often used in Asian cuisine, can be made into a tea, can be used as an ingredient in a smoothie, and can be used as an ingredient in so many different recipes, like as a ginger glaze.
We hope that this guide helps keep your joints healthy and strong for as long as possible. Though if you are in need of help with joint pain you can consult with some of the best orthopedic surgeons in the US at Integrated Orthopedics.