Joints allow us to live and move in the way that makes us happiest. Don’t let illness, injury, age, or an unhealthy diet take joint health away from you.
Joints are nature’s hinges. They let you bend, twist, and move in all the intricate ways that make our lives enjoyable from rock climbing to dancing. Unfortunately, when joints are damaged due to illness, injury, or age, your movements become filled with pain rather than fun.
This discomfort and restriction of joints can be caused by many things, including strains, sprains, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, bursitis, gout, and other injuries. Affecting one-third of all adults, joint pain is a hidden epidemic, and the immobility and aches only get worse as we age.
Here are 15 foods to improve joint health and get your life back:
- Garlic, Leeks, and Onions
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Coconut Oil
- Red Bell Pepper
Are you ready to take control of your health naturally through food? There are many foods that can ease pain, reduce inflammation, and increase your mobility.
FOODS FOR HEALTHY JOINTS: A RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS DIET PLAN
Staying hydrated reduces the risk of injury and keep joints well lubricated. Drink plenty of clean water and eat fresh fruits.
Most fresh fruits and leafy greens will help ease your joint pain. They supply water to keep joints, and muscles hydrated and are full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatories.
However, most of the benefits of these plant foods are only available when we eat them raw. This keeps the antioxidants and enzymes intact so our bodies can put them to use.
1. Garlic, Leeks, and Onions
You probably use one or more of these in your cooking regularly. These are all related to one another and contain a powerful sulfur compound that fights inflammation and pain.
They also help flavor food so you can use less sodium. High levels of sodium intake have been linked to arthritis as well as high blood pressure.
Do you remember the old saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away?” Well, in this case, apples really can help you improve your mobility. Apples contain quercetin, which helps build collagen, a main component of cartilage. They are a crisp, delicious way to keep your skin, cartilage, and bones young and healthy.
You can easily incorporate these into your diet by slicing them and eating them with peanut butter or other nut butters. Or, try an Autumn inspired recipe: Apple-Spice Protein Pancakes are a great way to get in some apples and part of your daily serving of protein.
These nuts are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin E, and manganese. Omega 3 reduces inflammation and gives you some extra mobility. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects your body from damage. And, manganese helps glucosamine work quicker and more effectively as it repairs your joints.
You can simply eat almonds by themselves as a snack or incorporate almonds into your breakfast with a No-Fuss Risotto Style Sunbutter Oatmeal. This is comfort food at its best with the added bonus of keeping you active.
The seeds of this quick growing plant are an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids and essential amino acids the body needs to repair and lubricate your muscles, ligaments, tendons, and cartilage.
They can be sprinkled on any food, or you can make a jam and spread them over your morning toast. This Acai Berry Jam combines the superfood benefits of acai with chia to give you an energy boost in the morning. You won’t need coffee.
Purslane is considered a weed by most people, but it is one of the best plant sources of omega 3 you can find. It grows easily, so you can plant it in your backyard and watch it spring up. Or, the plant can be found in many ethnic or health food grocery stores.
The leaves can be used as a substitute for spinach in many recipes. So, you can blend it in a smoothie, make a salad, or sauté it with other vegetables.
Bromelain, an enzyme found in pineapple, has anti-inflammatory effects and reduces pain. By reducing inflammation, pineapple helps take the pressure off your joints and gets you moving. It’s great for sprains, bruises, and cuts too.
You can combine the anti-inflammatory benefits of pineapple with omega 3 from chia to help your joints by making our Pina Colada Chia Pudding. Even stir in chunks of pineapple to get more from this recipe.
This fruit is rich in vitamin C, vitamin A, and enzymes similar to pineapple. To read more about the additional benefits of pineapple and papaya, check out this article. Vitamin C reduces the likelihood of developing arthritis, and vitamin A acts as another antioxidant to reduce damage.
It’s easy and yummy to eat papaya. Replace your evening dessert with a Papaya Boat. Simply cut the papaya in half, scoop out the seeds, and the fill the papaya with other berries, nuts, and seeds. For added sweetness, drizzle the papaya boat with agave.
The first pressings of the olive fruit are the richest in antioxidants and omega 3 fatty acids to reduce inflammation and pain. Olive oil is great to cook with, but shouldn’t be used at a high heat. The high heat destroys the nutritional value of the oil.
One of the best ways to eat olive oil is to drizzle it on a salad. Or, you can stir some herbs into a small dish with the oil and dip some bread into it.
8. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
9. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is rich in essential oils that reduce inflammation and pain, hydrate tissues, and protect against viruses, bacteria, and fungi that deal damage to your body. It can be used both internally and topically.
Coconut oil can be used to cook at a higher heat than olive oil. So, use this oil for sautéing and ditch your vegetable oil.