You might not think your food choices have much of an impact on joint health—but they do. Food choices can influence whether your joints limit your livelihood with severe pain, or allow you to get out and enjoy life.
One way food influences your joints is through nutrients that promote tissue growth in your joints. Another is that they can either inflame or reduce inflammation. And finally, some calorically dense foods that are low in nutrition can promote weight gain, which puts increased stress on your joints.
Look for nutrient-dense foods if you hope to reduce pain, stiffness, and other discomforts. These include fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, whole grains, olive oil, fish, and a selection of lean proteins. Foods that are minimally processed can help limit inflammation and promote joint health. They feature a host of nutrients—vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants—that promote tissue growth, bone strength, and function.
Some of the best foods to fight joint pain include:
- Fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines)
- Olive Oil
- Tart cherry juice
Foods high in sugar and refined carbs, or fried or fatty foods, can cause inflammation and increase the risk of joint pain. Cooking can also influence certain foods’ impact on joint health. When some foods are cooked at high heat, they produce advanced glycation end products (AGEs) that can drive inflammation.
Some foods that can stimulate joint pain include:
- Frozen meals
- Processed and refined foods
- Deli meats (lunch meats and cold cuts)
- Fried or sugary food
Protecting joint health and limiting joint pain is a multifactorial process, but diet plays a big role. Try to eat more foods that can aid joint health and it may make a big difference—in your life and livelihood.
Devon Andre holds a bachelor’s of forensic science from the University of Windsor in Canada and a Juris Doctor from the University of Pittsburgh. This article was first published on Bel Marra Health.