If you don’t lead a healthy life with a balanced diet, health issues will catch up with you sooner than you’d like.
There’s always room for improvement and you can start making changes in your diet at any point in life. A joint-healthy diet helps keep away pain, stiffness and reduced mobility.
Nutrients that Nourish Your Joints
The food you eat contains different nutrients such as fats, proteins, fiber, vitamins and carbohydrates. The two most important nutrients for joint health are minerals and vitamins.
The most notable among these is perhaps calcium which keeps your bones strong and can prevent osteoporosis due to loss of bone density. But while many people give calcium the kudos it deserves for bone and joint health, they often forget about magnesium.
However, the truth is that calcium needs to be paired with magnesium, and even vitamin D to be most effective.
You need to have a good balance of all three as each is dependent on the other for optimal performance. For instance, while calcium promotes bone density, magnesium assists the transport of calcium across cell membranes.
At the same time, magnesium promotes enzymes that convert vitamin D to its active form, which, in turn helps the body absorb calcium better.
Magnesium also plays a role in strengthening bones and maintaining cartilage. It also regulates nerve and muscle function, ensuring that everything is under control. Studies have shown that magnesium prevents degradation of bones and increases bone density.
It’s also been found to be effective against postmenopausal osteoporosis.
It’s also been seen that people with joint issues often suffer from low levels of vitamin D as well. When studied, Vitamin D seems to ward off conditions like osteomalacia or soft bones, or osteoporosis, resulting in loss of bone mass.
Supplementing well with this vitamin may help you take better care of your bones and joints.
Another vitamin that deserves attention in this area is Vitamin C. as one of the most powerful antioxidants, it can help prevent oxidative stress in the body.
Oxidative stress also harms the synovial membrane in joints causing the synovial fluid to leak, compromising joint lubrication. Here vitamin C can provide cushion and lubrication to the area by preventing oxidative damage.
Best Foods for Joint Health
Naturally, the best foods for joint health will include these aforementioned nutrients along with others. If you already suffer from joint-related conditions, then altering your diet may actually help reduce your painful or discomforting issues.
For instance, there are some foods that can actually help reduce the effects of arthritis and also give relief from pain. Many patients suffering from arthritis admit that changes in their diet plan have helped reduce the severity of their symptoms.
One of the best foods to eat if you have painful or inflamed joints is fatty fish. Salmon and sardines are rich in omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3s reduce inflammation in the body and it has been found that in the presence of this fatty acid, the amount of inflammatory mediators is also low in the body.
Incorporating Omega 3s in your diet will reduce morning stiffness, provide pain-relief and cool down your body. These fatty acids are especially helpful for people with rheumatoid arthritis.
Garlic is also very important for people suffering from painful joints. Its immune strengthening properties make cells stronger and can target inflammation as well.
By lowering the amount of inflammatory markers in the body, garlic helps lessen the pain associated with arthritis and similar conditions.
Likewise, ginger is also very effective in reducing pain from knee arthritis. A very easy way to incorporate these two foods in your diet is to make a garlic ginger paste and use it for flavoring in your meals.
Broccoli is not only effective for keeping your weight in check but also great for joint health. It’s involved in blocking a certain type of cell that accelerates the progression of rheumatoid arthritis.
Broccoli is not only effective for keeping your weight in check but also great for joint health. It’s involved in blocking a certain type of cell that accelerates the progression of rheumatoid arthritis. Walnuts are also anti-inflammatory in their effect and they may even reduce the need for painkillers. If you are an arthritis patient who loves berries, then you are in luck because berries also reduce inflammatory markers associated with arthritis. Whether it is black berries or strawberries, all kinds are great for joint health.
Spinach is another green that helps promotes joint health. It has been seen that it prevents the progression of osteoarthritis. At the same time, it also improves cartilage health and reduces inflammatory agents that cause rheumatoid arthritis.
Another fruit for fighting joint pain is Grapes. The outer covering of grapes contains resveratrol, which has antioxidant properties.
Grapes also slow down the thickening of joints and block the production of cells causing rheumatoid arthritis.
You can also prepare your meals in olive oil to promote the health of your joints.
Foods to Avoid
There are some foods that you need to avoid in order to prevent progression or worsening of joint pains. Firstly, fried foods and processed edibles are a huge No for anyone with painful joints. These foods make the body’s defenses poor and cause inflammation.
When you cut down the intake of such foods, the body’s natural defense system gets restored. Instead of eating frozen foods, cook at home and try to go for greens and fruits.
Even foods cooked at high temperatures can make your body more prone to arthritis, so opt for more suitable recipes.
AGE or Advanced Glycation End Product, as they increase in the body, can cause inflammation. These are produced when you eat grilled or heated foods.
The body activates cytokines that cause inflammation in response, to fight these compounds. As a result of that, the overall level of inflammation increases in the body causing a risk of joint pain or deterioration.
Cut down on these foods so that blood AGE levels can be low.
You might love nibbling on cheese slices but this isn’t healthy for your joints. Dairy products contribute to joint deterioration due to their protein content. Proteins present in dairy products can irritate the surrounding tissue of joints in many people.
You can get the same proteins from other sources without the side effects, so it’s advised to switch to a restricted dairy diet.
Corn oil is present in many snacks and some baked goods too. It gives a pleasant taste to food but can trigger inflammatory markers to go in action and increase the risk of joint pain. This is because corn oil is rich in Omega 6 fatty acids. Instead of eating omega 6s, you can try using oils rich in Omega 3s, such as olive oil and flaxseed oil.
Some cuts of red meat can also exacerbate inflammation as they are rich in saturated fats. Also, excessive consumption of red meat can cause obesity which is another factor contributing to joint pain.
Experts say that gluten can also cause inflammation in people who are already suffering from an autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Although alcohol doesn’t really count as food, increased intake can lead to deterioration of joint health. A controlled amount of alcohol can actually prevent RA but the problem begins when you start drinking too much of it.
Overconsumption of alcohol leads to the production of a protein called C – reactive protein which is a signal for inflammation. So, it can worsen the cases of rheumatoid arthritis.
Balancing your diet is the first step towards improving joint health.