What to Eat for Healthy Joints
Joint problems are a common concern as we age and can range from aches and pains to more serious conditions such as osteoporosis or arthritis. But by making healthy lifestyle choices, such as exercising and eating healthy, you can maintain good joint health. HealthCentral compiled a list of nine foods that can help keep your joints healthy.
Salmon is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, a natural anti-inflammatory compound. Chronic inflammation develops over time, as cartilage becomes torn. And that can lead to weakened and eroded joints. Other sources of omega-3 fatty acids include sardines, mackerel, trout, flaxseeds, and walnuts.
Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower can help protect against the development of arthritis, according to one long-term study. Other cruciferous vegetables include cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale, and bok choy.
Some studies have linked olive oil consumption to reduced pain and stiffness in the joints. Olive oil also has anti-inflammatory properties, as it contains the antioxidants polyphenols and omega-3 fatty acids. Research shows that including olive oil in your diet may prevent cartilage damage caused by osteoarthritis. Try making your own salad dressing with olive oil and vinegar or lemon juice, or use oil to sauté vegetables.
Ginger is believed to be a natural remedy for various conditions, including migraines, hypertension, and colds. Ginger also has anti-inflammatory properties that can be beneficial for the joints, according to the Journal of Medicinal Food. Include more ginger in your diet by adding slices to your tea or grating fresh ginger in sauces or a stir-fry.
Research shows that vitamin C has both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Oranges are a well-known source of vitamin C, but you can also try bell peppers, strawberries, pineapple, and kidney beans. Be careful not to overdo it though, as high doses of vitamin C have been linked to worsening arthritis symptoms.
Nuts are great sources of protein, fiber, vitamin E (which can help protect joint cells), and alpha linoleic acid or ALA (which can boost your immune system). Almonds, walnuts, pistachios, and pine nuts are all good sources of these nutrients.
Apples contain an antioxidant known as quercetin, which helps build collagen and slows its deterioration. This is important because collagen is the main component of cartilage and allows the joints to withstand pressure and pounding. Quercetin is mostly found in the apple skin, so don’t peel the fruit.
Cherries contain anthocyanins, which have an anti-inflammatory effect. These compounds are also found in red and purple fruits such as strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries.