It’s estimated that approximately one-third of Americans suffer from joint pain at some point in their lifetimes. But while lots of people default to going to the doctor to treat their joint pain, you can actually naturally reduce joint pain with a number of select foods that contain key vitamins and nutrients your body needs for general health anyway.
Let’s break down some of those helpful foods, plus look at some supplements that can offer similar effects if our picks don’t fit your tastebuds or diet plan.
Why Does Joint Pain Happen?
While millions of Americans suffer from joint pain every year, the reasons can be quite diverse. Since your joints are the primary connecting points between different bones, and because they’re the facilitators of most movement, there are multiple conditions that can interfere with them and cause pain.
For instance, lots of people suffer from arthritis symptoms like swelling, pain, and all-day or morning stiffness in the joints.
Arthritis comes in a couple of different forms.
- Osteoarthritis is one example. It occurs when you overuse your joints or overstress them, which can occur if you perform hard physical labor or flexible motions without having enough muscle mass.
- Another is rheumatoid arthritis. This is an autoimmune disease and occurs when your immune system incorrectly identifies tissue in the joints as foreign.
The results of most joint-related conditions are the same: joint pain and long-term discomfort. Since we use our joints to move every day, having arthritis pain interfere with these vital parts can be crippling if left unattended.
How Do Foods Help with Joint Pain?
Although joint conditions can be debilitating at worst, there are ways to treat those conditions.
In many cases, people turn to doctors for treatment or medication that can alleviate the symptoms or help treat the underlying condition. Additionally, supplementing with collagen or taking advantage of herbal adaptogens like turmeric and the anti-inflammatory curcumin within it are also helpful routes.
In other cases, you can eat certain foods to help naturally reduce joint pain depending on the cause of the pain in the first place. A balanced diet that has good sources of nutrients that support and benefit your joints can help your body’s natural anti-inflammatory effects as well as support general joint health. While the Mediterranean diet is notorious for this, you can also aim for certain veggies, fruits, carbs, and even specific nutrients.
Top 11 Foods to Help with Joint Pain
Nuts are one of the best food types to eat if you suffer from regular joint pain. That’s because nuts are among the most nutritious foods you can find. Most varieties are stuffed with protein and tons of other minerals like magnesium, zinc, calcium, and vitamins like vitamin E. Some nuts even contain ALA or alpha-linoleic acid, which is a crucial building block for producing new muscle fibers and cartilage.
Plus, nuts are healthy all around! They’re great for supporting heart health and can even help benefit weight loss efforts. It’s recommended that folks suffering from arthritis-related pain try pine nuts, almonds, pistachios, and walnuts.
Garlic is another especially good choice. Garlic contains something called diallyl disulfide, which can protect against certain enzymes that are commonly known to damaged cartilage in human cells.
You can either eat garlic as part of seasoning for another meal or consume other garlic-related foods like leeks and onions.
Beans are certainly a magical fruit. For one, all beans are packed with fiber, which is a vital nutrient and a compound that makes you feel full for longer. So beans are a great choice if you are trying to lose weight while also eating foods that can naturally reduce joint pain.
Furthermore, beans have lots of protein for relatively little cost per pound. This makes it easier for your body to produce muscles and cartilage. Some bean varieties, like red beans, pinto beans, and kidney beans, contain additional helpful vitamins and nutrients like magnesium, iron, potassium, zinc, and folic acid, which can all have health benefits for your joints as well as your heart and immune system.
It’s important to eat plenty of citrus fruits for their vitamin content and immune system boosting benefits. But vitamin C, which can be found in citrus fruits like limes, oranges, and grapefruits, is also really important for maintaining healthy joints overall. While not a citrus fruit, blackberries are also helpful for joint health.
Vitamin C is also important to your body in protecting against free radical damage since it’s an antioxidant: a type of molecule that, it’s safe to say, there’s never enough of!
Lots of folks like green tea for its taste. But even if it’s not your favorite, you should consider drinking a cup now and again since green tea drinks are usually packed with antioxidants called polyphenols. These can reduce cartilage destruction and reduce inflammation, lessening the symptoms of various joint-related conditions and types of arthritis.
Plus, some green tea varieties contain additional antioxidants that can stop your body from producing molecules that cause joint damage if you have rheumatoid arthritis. Replace green tea with coffee to avoid feeling jittery in the morning, but still wake up thanks to healthy amounts of caffeine contained in the beverage.
Broccoli (and Other Leafy Greens)
Broccoli is another solid choice if you want to support joint health naturally through food. Broccoli is chock-full of excellent vitamins, like vitamins K and C, both of which are important for bolstering joint health.
Furthermore, broccoli comes with sulforaphane, which is a compound that can stop or slow the progression of certain types of osteoarthritis. Since broccoli is also particularly rich with calcium, you can eat this vegetable to help your bones produce more mass over time.
While lots of people don’t like broccoli for its taste, you can add it to a meal without disappointing your taste buds by cooking it in a skillet instead of steaming it. If you really can’t stomach broccoli and similar vegetables, consider Livingood Daily Greens supplement, which contains many of the same vitamins and nutrients you can find in some of the healthiest vegetables.
Try some dairy products if you want to boost your joints’ health over time.† Making sure the products are sourced from hormone-free cows raised with no antibiotics is key. Raw cheese, organic cottage cheese, and kefir are great toxin-free options and they’ll all have calcium and vitamin D. The latter is crucial since it’s the vitamin your body needs to properly absorb all the calcium you consume.
If you have a dairy allergy, try eating more leafy and dark greens like broccoli or kale in order to receive enough vitamin D and calcium to compensate. Or consume a great Vitamin D supplement, like the kind offered by Livingood Daily.
Cherries are one type of fruit you should specifically seek out. That’s because cherries are known to reduce the severity and frequency of gout attacks, which is a condition associated with joint pain.
Furthermore, certain types of minerals and compounds in cherries have soothing effects that can lower the risk of various arthritis-related conditions.
Saturated Fats and Healthy Oils
It’s important to consume enough oils and healthy fats for heart health, but consuming extra-virgin olive oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil can also help lower your cholesterol and provide anti-inflammatory benefits at the same time.
In other words, these cooking ingredients are great choices for improving your joints’ health and overall health without changing up your favorite recipes too much.
We’d also recommend that you try out flax seeds. Flax seeds contain plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, which are known for their anti-inflammatory properties.
Lastly, don’t forget to try eating more cold-water fish and fatty fish in your diet. Many popular fish types like salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, and tuna are packed with omega-3 fatty acids.
Lots of doctors will prescribe eating more fish if you have inflammation problems. You can also get more omega-3 fatty acids from supplements like Livingood’s Daily Omegas + Turmeric supplement, which offers extra benefits and more nutrition than the average fish oil supplement.
In the end, there are dozens of different food choices you can add to your diet to make sure that you maintain healthy joints or alleviate the symptoms of arthritis and related conditions.
The good news is that most of these foods are pretty easy to incorporate into any diet you want to follow or use in cornerstone dishes that are favorites in your household!