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4 Foods For Healthy Joints

2 min read

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Did you know the foods you regularly eat can impact the health of your joints? Multiple studies have found that diet is one of the main contributing factors in the development and progression of joint problems like arthritis.

Arthritis refers to inflammation of the joints that can result in pain, stiffness, reduced flexibility and/or limited range of motion. Commonly affected joints include knees, hips, ankles, shoulders, elbows, wrists and hands/fingers.

Following an anti-inflammatory diet can help support healthy joints by decreasing total inflammation in the body. An anti-inflammatory diet is also the gold standard for reducing risk of other diseases caused by inflammation, such as heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

If you are concerned about joint health, there are 4 foods that may help reduce inflammation and support healthy, flexible joints:

1. Fatty fish, including wild-caught salmon, tuna, sardines and mackerel.Fatty fish are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. High intake of omega-3 fats is associated with decreased levels of inflammatory markers. Fatty fish are also one of the few food sources of Vitamin D, which is important for healthy bones and joints. Several studies have associated low Vitamin D with the development of arthritis.

Other good food choices to increase your intake of omega-3 fats include:
  • Grass-fed beef
  • Eggs & dairy from pastured (i.e., grass-fed) animals
  • Chia and flax seeds
  • Walnuts
2. Cruciferous vegetables.A 2014 study found high intake of cruciferous vegetables to be particularly potent in reducing markers of inflammation. Cruciferous vegetables include:
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Cabbage

Cruciferous vegetables are also an excellent source of dietary fiber. High intake of fiber is associated with lower levels of inflammatory markers, such as C-reactive protein.

3. Berries.Berries contain an abundance of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and anti-inflammatory compounds that support immune system function and promote anti-inflammatory activity in the body. A survey of the food intake of arthritic patients found blueberries to be associated with relief from arthritis symptoms.

4. Anti-inflammatory spices.Turmeric and ginger promote anti-inflammatory activity in the body and mimic the pain-relieving effects of over-the-counter medications typically used to relieve joint pain.

Try adding fresh or powdered turmeric to soups, scrambled eggs, curries and smoothies. Fresh or powdered ginger can be easily added to smoothies, tea, soups and stir-fry dishes.

Foods That Cause Inflammation

It’s also important to avoid foods that contribute to inflammation. The following foods should be limited or avoided as part of an anti-inflammatory diet:

  • Sugar(e.g., sweets, candy, soda).
  • Refined grains(e.g., foods made from white flour, white rice).
  • Unhealthy fats.These include:
    • Trans fats. Avoid foods that list partially hydrogenated oils among ingredients.
    • Saturated fats. Red meat and full-fat dairy products are typically high in saturated fat and should be consumed in moderation.
    • High intake of omega-6 fatty acids. Avoid canola, soybean, sunflower, safflower and vegetable oil.
  • Food additives.These include MSG and artificial sweeteners.
  • Excessive Alcohol.

Reducing your intake of inflammatory foods and increasing your intake of anti-inflammatory foods can go a long way in supporting the health of your joints. To further the benefits of an anti-inflammatory diet, consider supplementing with a product specially formulated to support joint health, like Flexify.