Keeping our joints healthy is critical to remain independent and active as we age. Life can become quite challenging for individuals who are immobilized by joint pain, resulting in reduced physical and social activity and higher risk of psychological and emotional problems.
Although exercise is very important, what you EAT is also significant for healthy joints. Our favorite joint-friendly foods include:
Water — Perhaps the single-most important “food” is water. This liquid is essential for maintaining every system within the body. Water helps in the elimination of toxins, including those poisons that can create joint pain. Water also helps in the delivery of nutrients to the various parts of the body and—like the oil in your car—is essential for joint lubrication. Drink plenty of water every day!
Fish — Cold water fish, such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, white tuna, halibut and trout can deliver healthy doses of omega-3 from the fish oil in each serving. Omega-3 fatty acid reduces inflammation that can cause or increase joint pain. Fish oil can also slow down cartilage degeneration, the rubbery substance between bones that allows for smooth movement. When cartilage wears out, movement becomes extremely painful.
Flax Seeds — Flax is another source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Flax seeds and flax seed oil are high in antioxidants, which help to prevent or delay some effects of aging. Flax also contains lots of fiber, which can help you feel fuller for a longer time, reducing your chances for obesity—a condition frequently associated with joint pain.
Spices —Curry, ginger and cinnamon have anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric is particularly effective in reducing the symptoms of osteoarthritis and works as a healthy anti-bacterial agent. Spices are a great way to enhance flavour in a joint-friendly diet.
Green tea — Both an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, green tea is a healthy beverage to add to your meals. It’s been shown to improve the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
Papaya —The Annals of Rheumatic Diseases published a 2004 study showing a strong correlation between low vitamin C intake and rheumatoid arthritis. Those with the lowest vitamin C consumption were 3 times more likely to develop the disease. Though orange juice has a good dose of vitamin C, papaya has nearly twice as much and also includes a healthy dose of beta-carotene for greater anti-oxidant joint support.
Tart cherry juice — The anthocyanins contained in this juice are powerful anti-inflammatory agents that have been shown to reduce arthritis-related inflammation even better than aspirin. Cherry juice is also effective in reducing the painful symptoms of gout.