Many conditions can cause joint pain, joint stiffness, and swelling of the joints. Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), Osteoarthritis (OA), hypothyroidism, gout, tendonitis, and fibromyalgia, not to mention strains and sprains, are only a few out of a long list of conditions that can cause joint pain. The joints carry the stress of moving, and therefore are prone to becoming overworked, underworked, stressed, or dehydrated. The simple fact of aging is also a common cause of many joint problems.
Joint pain is caused by inflammation or swelling. The inflammatory response is a natural part of the body’s defenses – an effort to protect it from further damage or infection. Inflammation can be caused by internal problems, like an autoimmune disease, or external causes, like a sprain.
Certain nutrients can help lubricate and heal the joints, while some foods can worsen inflammation, which puts extra pressure on the joints.
What to Eat if You Have Joint Pain
Fish and Shellfish
Coldwater fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel, trout and tuna, as well as shellfish, all contain DHA and EPA, which are types of Omega 3 fatty acids. These specific Omega 3’s are very good for joints, as well as the cardiovascular system. Omega 3’s also lower the risk of diabetes and other illnesses.
Omega 6’s and 9’s are much more common, so you will not see supplements for these nutrients. For instance, Omega 6’s can be found in meat, eggs, and corn, which can be found in the average diet.
Nuts and Seeds
For vegetarians and vegans, nuts and seeds also contain Omega 3’s, specifically chia seed, walnuts, almonds, flax, and pine nuts.
Dark and leafy green vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, mustard greens, and arugula are very good for the joints. They contain an abundance of calcium and magnesium and other minerals that are good for the immune system. They also contain a specific enzyme that reduces swelling in the joints.
Blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries contain anthocyanins, a type of flavanoid. Berries, especially blueberries, increase immune factors that fight and prevent disease, reducing the inflammatory response. Studies have also shown that people that eat strawberries have a lesser inflammatory response.
Pineapple contains a high amount of bromelain, a powerful enzyme that can reduce inflammation. The highest concentration of this enzyme is in the core of the pineapple, so it’s best to juice the entire fruit, including the core, to get these benefits. The type of enzymes in pineapple have a myriad of health benefits.
Garlic and Turmeric
These powerful roots are known as superfoods, as they have such a potent effect on the immune system. Turmeric reduces inflammation and fights tumors, while garlic disinfects and fights viral and fungal infections. Including these spicy options in your diet can reduce and prevent many pain and swelling causes in joints.
A great vehicle for the garlic mentioned above is olive oil. The best kind is extra-virgin, cold-pressed, or organic. This oil is part of an anti-inflammatory diet and goes with many meals. Olive oil is another source of Omega 3’s.
Reducing fried foods, fast food, processed food, sugars, and gluten while increasing the anti-inflammatory foods listed here can significantly affect the factors that cause joint pain.