Joint problems are common in today’s day and age, and they can be physically painful and mentally agonizing. Though generally associated with arthritis, joint pain can also occur on account of conditions like gout, sprains, strains and physical injuries.
However, joint problems can be managed by understanding their symptoms. Joint problems generally include inflammation, stiffness, and swelling. They may be accompanied by tenderness, redness, and decreased mobility of the body.
While the underlying cause requires treatment, symptoms of joint pain can be reduced with oral medication, topical ointments, injections, physiotherapy, and braces, among a few other things.
Joint problems can also be managed by making dietary changes. The right diet can reduce the progression of the condition, help manage the pain and decrease the need for medication.
Several studies have shown that certain foods can help decrease joint pain. A 2017 study found that making dietary changes can supplement the treatment of joint pain.
Here is a list of 7 food items that can help reduce the symptoms of joint pain and manage it better –
The most flavorsome of all, Ginger can add zing to almost any dish, and it bears numerous health benefits.
In 2001, a controlled study showed that ginger extract significantly reduced the symptoms of Osteoarthritis with patients reporting a moderate reduction in knee pain while standing and walking.
Gingerol, present in Ginger, is known to significantly reduce inflammation and hence it can bring down joint pain.
You can use fresh ginger in tea, soup, or in your food. You can also use ginger extract, powdered or dried.
Other spices that are known to help reduce inflammation are cinnamon, garlic, cayenne, and turmeric.
Omega-3 fatty acids put up a great fight against inflammation, and walnuts are a rich source of them.
A 12-month-long study conducted by Arthritis and Metabolic Bone Disease Research Unit, Belgium, exhibited the long-term effects of omega-3 fatty acids in active rheumatoid arthritis. Those taking 2.6 mg per day of omega-3 showed significant improvement and could reduce their antirheumatic medication.
Walnuts, being high in fiber, fats, minerals, and vitamins, also support physical functioning such as walking and self-care abilities as we age.
Other nuts to incorporate into your diet include almonds and peanuts – both of which are known to prevent inflammation.
Load up on fatty fish, it’s good for you! Salmon, mackerel, sardines, and trout are high in omega-3 fatty acids.
Like walnuts, omega-3 fatty acids present in these fish can significantly bring down joint and cartilage inflammation.
A study conducted on 33 participants indicated that those who ate fatty fish in their diets for 8 weeks had decreased lipid levels – a substance known to aid inflammation in bones and joints.
If fish is not a viable option to include in your diet, you can always consider vegetarian sources of Omega-3 like Walnuts, Seaweed, Chia seeds, omega-3 supplements.
4. Green tea
Green tea went viral a few years ago for their potential health benefits. Studies have shown that green tea has favorable effects on inflammation.
It contains compounds called polyphenols, which naturally occur in plants and carry numerous health benefits.
Apart from combating obesity and cancer, green tea is said to reduce inflammatory symptoms of conditions like ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and arthritis.
Consuming green tea is completely safe, but it does have a dose of caffeine in it. It’s not advisable to drink large amounts of it.
Other anti-inflammatory teas you can include are turmeric, holy basil, rosehip, and fennel.
Low in calories, spinach is a superfood and is a rich source of iron, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Spinach has potential benefits for your skin, hair, and bone health.
A study by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln indicated that spinach could relieve joint inflammation and bring down the pain associated with osteoarthritis.
The presence of high levels of antioxidants and plant compounds could also prevent the condition from becoming worse.
A test-tube study conducted in 2017 treated arthritic cartilage cells with kaempferol – an antioxidant found in spinach. It suggested that kaempferol could be a therapeutic agent in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
You can also add kale, collard greens, and chard to your diet.
Berries are known to be a great source of antioxidants, but their powers are more!
A test-tube study by the University of British Columbia in 2006 revealed that quercetin (present in berries) inhibited portions of the inflammatory process. It concluded that quercetin had therapeutic potential in treating arthritis.
The best part about adding berries to your diet is that there’s a wide variety to pick from – strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, raspberries, and more.
Portrayed as a much-hated vegetable by kids, broccoli is one of the healthiest foods you can consume.
The cruciferous vegetable pops up on this list due to the presence of sulforaphane. Researchers strongly believe this compound can slow down the progression of osteoarthritis.
A study conducted in 2014 observed the health benefits of cruciferous vegetables on 1,005 middle-aged women. It found decreased levels of joint inflammatory markers in the participants.
The vegetable is also packed with calcium, vitamin K and Vitamin C, the key nutrients for bone health.
Other vegetables like broccoli that you could try are cauliflower, kale, bok choy, garden cress, and cabbage.
When making dietary changes to manage joint pain, look for foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and certain compounds that can help reduce inflammation.
The foods with anti-inflammatory properties can reduce pain. You should also incorporate foods rich in antioxidants and vitamins to prevent further progression of joint problems.
In addition to having proven benefits of reducing inflammation and the progression of arthritis, these foods have health benefits that can boost your immunity and keep you healthy.