The 20 Best and Worst Foods for Joint Health

This is a repost by kind permission of Penny Thomas of How To Become A Physical Therapist

According to WebMD, there are over one hundred forms of arthritis. Common symptoms include inflammation, stiffness, and pain in the joint areas. Because medicine and health care are both getting more expensive, more people are looking to their diets.

With certain foods and supplements touting joint health abilities and others having negative effects, the only way to know for sure is to try.

To aid in your quest for better movement, we have gathered the 20 best and worst foods for joint health. We have even added a little bit on the vitamins and supplements that can be easily added to any diet for even more benefits.

10 Best Foods for Joint Health

Add these foods to your diet to help better joint health, lose weight, and/or even more.

1. Shrimp : Choose this shellfish as your next appetizer or entrée. Its shells contain high levels of glucosamine, a known vitamin to help combat inflammation of the joints. The same is true for shells of lobsters or crab. They also contain high levels of selenium and are a low fat source of protein.

2. Salmon : If unable to eat shellfish, check out this super food. A regular of “top foods” list, salmon is an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids that have benefits for weight, heart health, and of course, joints. In fact, the fat composition of salmon has recently been evaluated as superior not only because of its rich omega 3 content, but also because of its great ratio of omega 3s to omega 6s and its health-supportive balance of saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats.

3. Almonds : If you are a vegan looking to improve their joint health, this is the food for you. Almonds are also high in the omega 3 fatty acids found in salmon. They also have loads of vitamin E and manganese. Adding manganese into your diet will help the glucosamine in your body, as well as speed up and increase its productivity. You can also switch out a jar of peanut butter for almond butter to make it easy to get into your diet.

4. Pineapples : The spiky fruit has long thought to have had healing powers. Containing an element called bromelain, it has remarkable healing properties. According to Boulder Natural Labs, bromelain and its ability as an anti-inflammatory is superior to that of a comparable drug. It can also help with sprains, cuts, bruises, and much more.

5. Extra Virgin Olive Oil : Because extra virgin olive oil is derived from the first pressing of olives, it has the most antioxidant benefits. These work to extract the free radicals in your body that can lead to inflammation and joint pain. As an added bonus, it also has the most flavor. Simply use it instead of butter or other oils when cooking or as a topping for salads.

6. Bell Peppers : All peppers are rich in vitamins A, C, and K, but red peppers are the best choice, including for naturally fighting joint pain. Antioxidant in peppers help to prevent cell damage, cancer, and diseases related to aging, and they also reduce inflammation like that found in arthritis and asthma. Peppers are also high in fiber and can help in weight loss.

7. Go Bananas : If weight loss is part of your quest to obtain better joint health, this is the fruit for you. One of nature’s best sources of potassium, bananas help you feel fuller on less calories. They also contain loads of the vitamins found in the above peppers.

8. Avocado : Good news for everyone who loves guacamole: it can help you joint health. In fact, it has been referred to as “the most nutritious of all the fruit.” It provides about twice as high a proportion of the daily needs for antioxidant vitamins as its calorie proportion. Avocados can also be useful for staving off cancer, heart disease, arthritis, and even eye cataracts.

9. Turmeric : This super spice is one of nature’s most powerful healers. Orange in color and often used in Indian cooking, it is long known for its anti-inflammatory properties. The site Health Diaries has 19 other reasons to add turmeric to your diet, in addition to fighting off arthritis. They include using it as a disinfectant, preventing cancer, and even improving mood.

10. Ginger : That garnish for your sushi might actually just be the key to better joint health. Denmark researchers have discovered that ginger can block the effects of prostaglandins. These are substances that cause inflammation of the blood vessels in the brain, which leads to migraines. Just a half teaspoon of ginger in your tea can lead to marked relief in arthritis pain.

Worst Foods for Joint Health

Now that you have a piece of salmon, cooked in extra virgin olive oil and topped with avocados, ginger, and turmeric, here is a list of foods to not add to your diet.

11. Red Meat : We all love a good steak, but did you know that it can lead to joint pain? According to British researchers, eating a diet high in red meats could actually lead to rheumatoid arthritis. The study linked the amount of protein taking in with higher risk. Other meats and too much protein also lead to similar results.

12. Dairy : In an entry from PCRM Health, they tell the story of a woman who was completely cured of arthritis after eliminating dairy products from her diet. With the theory that it has similar properties to the above, the protein found in dairy may have been the cause of her joint pain. If you suspect dairy may be causing your arthritis pain, try cutting it out of your diet or substituting for soy milk and other alternatives to dairy.

13. Saturated Fat : Because this is a main source of weight gain and has inflammatory properties, saturated fat can be a bad choice for those with joint pain. Butter, cheese, fatty meats, and more all contain high levels. It is also linked to high cholesterol and increased risk of heart disease. About.com has more on how reduce fat, cook better, and learn more about fats.

14. Caffeine : This stimulant may be doing more than help you get going in the morning. Like anything, taking in too much caffeine can have negative side effects, including in the joints. It can also interact badly with medication you are taking. Remember that caffeine is also found in colas, energy drinks, chocolate, and over the counter medicines.

15. Trans Fats : These fats increase the shelf life of food but unfortunately also lead to other more serious problems than spoiled food. According to The Examiner, trans fats are linked to belly fat, ADHD, cancer, diabetes, and arthritis. These fats are commonly known as hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils and can be found by reading the nutrition label. The article has more on what foods truly contain zero grams of trans fats.

Best Supplements for Joint Health

Can a pill help with joint health? The below have more.

16. Multi-vitamin : Everyone including those who suffer from joint pain should consider taking a multivitamin. They offer many essential nutrients in addition to other compounds that can be missing from the average diet. They include folic acid, vitamin B, D, A, and more. A doctor also weighs in on the downside to taking too many vitamins.

17. Fish Oil : If you can’t eat it every day, why not try taking it? The magazine “Arthritis Today” has a mini guide for all those wishing to learn more about it. Dosage, claims, and studies are all included.

18. Proteolytic Enzymes : These enzymes aid in the digestive process. Taken for both RA and Sjorgen’s syndrome, they reduce the level of circulating immune complexes and reduce inflammation. Because dosage and quantity varies with everyone, be sure and speak to your doctor before taking this one..

19. Vitamin D : A research project by Dr. Michael Holick and others has found a link between vitamin D deficiency and arthritis. It followed a group of older women and found that those who had the highest intake of vitamin D also had the lowest risk of arthritis. The vitamin has also been linked to helping preventing certain cancers, heart disease, diabetes, and more.

20. Glucosamine and Chondroitin : Both of these vitamins are part of the cartilage found in between the bones and joints. Both can be found in seafood or are available as supplements. Many sufferers of joint pain take one or both to aid, but according to WebMD, they may be doing it in vain. Three studies are linked to and have more. The good news is that if you are currently taking them or thinking about it, the main damage they do is to your wallet.

If looking to ease your joint pain, be sure to talk to your doctor before following any of the advice you have read in the above 20 best and worst foods for joint health. As illustrated in the dairy story, some choices work well for some, poorly for others, or not at all. Only a doctor can tell you if dietary changes can affect the medications you are taking or depriving you of a much needed food source.

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