Whether you suffer from an autoimmune disease, bone loss from aging, wear and tear from physical activity or just general aches and pains, joint degeneration can be debilitating. Day-to-day tasks such as climbing stairs, getting out of bed or typing can become extremely difficult to perform.
According to theCenters for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2015, approximately 23% of all adults in the United States had been officially diagnosed with some form of arthritis, the term used to describe inflammation of the joints. Common symptoms of arthritis include swelling, stiffness, decreased range of motion and pain. In fact, one in four adults diagnosed with arthritis reports living with "severe" pain.
Regardless of the cause, the common denominator in most cases of arthritis is inflammation, an acute response to an injury or overuse. Chronic inflammation over time, however, will lead to the degeneration of the bones and cartilage, causing ongoing pain and discomfort of the joint.
The best way to keep your joints healthy is to make sure your muscles, ligaments and bones are strong. A diet rich in antioxidants and other anti-inflammatory nutrients is one of the best ways to do this.
Top 5 Foods For Joint Health:
Miso – Miso is a fermented soy product that is an excellent source of vitamin K2 and is known to play an important role in bone mineralization. Additionally, research has shown that Vitamin K2 may help to lower inflammatory markersin our body, reducing the overall disease activity of arthritis. Popular in Asian cuisine, miso can be enjoyed in soups, stir fries, marinades and sauces.
Canned salmon – Fatty fish such as salmon are one of the best sources of omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3s are a type of healthy fat known for their anti-inflammatory properties. Research has supported the use of omega 3 supplementation in the treatment and management of pain in certain types of arthritis. Eating fish works as well; eating canned salmon specifically will also provide ample amounts of calcium and Vitamin D, which are important nutrients for maintaining healthy, strong bones.
Curry– Curry refers to a variety of dishes that use a blend of many herbs and spices, including cumin, coriander, ginger and turmeric. Turmeric specifically is known for its high levels of antioxidants, including the compound curcumin. Research has demonstrated how curcumin can down-regulate inflammation of the joints and may have therapeutic effects on arthritis. Popular in Asian and Indian dishes, curry is often added to sauces and marinades and works best paired with chicken, lamb, seafood and tofu.
Brussels sprouts– This cruciferous vegetable that contains an antioxidant called sulforaphane. Sulforaphane has been shown in research to help reduce inflammation and lessen the damage to the joints in those with arthritis. You can enjoy Brussels sprouts roasted in the oven or served cold and shredded in a slaw.
Tart Cherries – Known for being rich in antioxidants, tart cherries contain a specific compound called cyanidin. Research has shown that tart cherries can protect bones from inflammation-related loss as well as improve the degree of stiffness in the bones and joints. Tart cherries can be enjoyed fresh, dried or in juice. Add them to salads or dip them in dark chocolate for an added boost of antioxidants.
The foods we eat can play a significant role in both preventing and treating chronic inflammation and keeping our musculoskeletal system pain-free. Consume these five foods frequently to keep your knees, shoulders and other joints jumpin’!