You know it’s going to be a long day when you wake up in the morning and feel stiffness and pain in your joints. No matter how well we treat our bodies—staying hydrated, exercising, and eating right—age is always going to catch up with us (some just sooner than others). So while you might be taking over-the-counter or prescription medications, or even considering an orthopedic procedure, there are a number of foods that can also help to reduce inflammation and ease pain.
Six Joint Inflammation-Fighting Foods
Salmon, tuna, trout, mackerel, and herring are known to fight inflammation with omega-3 fatty acids. Experts recommend at least 3-4 ounces of fish twice per week to notice a reduction in joint inflammation. For vegans and vegetarians, sources of omega-3 fatty acids include flax seed, chia seed, and organic soybeans. Fish oil supplements can also be taken to help joint pain.
This is one food most people will enjoy adding to their diet! Cherries, along with other fruits like strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries, contain anthocyanins which act as anti-inflammatories. If you suffer from gout, these berries can reduce the number of attacks you have and their duration, so try to get about 5 servings per day (as an added bonus for your body, they’re also high in antioxidants and Vitamin C which can ward off illness).
Experts are mixed when it comes to dairy’s impact on joint inflammation. While diets high in saturated fats found in many dairy-based items such as cheese can increase inflammation, a 2017 review of over 50 clinical studies concluded dairy generally acts as an anti-inflammatory. One thing most everyone agrees on, however, is yogurt. While a form of dairy, yogurt is packed with probiotics, giving it its anti-inflammatory powers.
4. Cabbage Family Vegetables
If you like your greens, you’re going to love this! Also known as “cruciferous vegetables,” this inflammation-fighting family of food includes cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, bok choy, arugula, collard greens, watercress, and radishes. They’re packed with phytonutrients, plant-based compounds that lower inflammation and can even reduce the risk of cancer. It’s recommended that adults eat at least 2.5 cups of these vegetables per days to reap the health rewards, so start thinking “stir fry”!
Unless you’re a vampire, garlic has long been known as a “cure-all,” and its medicinal purposes can be traced back to the ancient Egyptians. So, you can’t really go wrong with garlic! The good news is that it helps with inflamed joints too. Garlic (along with onions and leeks) contains a compound called diallyl disulfide that may help with arthritis and joint pain. “This compound may have some effect in limiting cartilage-damaging enzymes,” says rheumatologist Scott Zashin, MD, clinical professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. So stock up on garlic (and breath mints).
6. Green Tea
Green tea is known as the healthiest beverage on the planet! It’s full of powerful antioxidants and nutrients, and has been known to improve overall health, dental health, and brain function; burn fat and boost performance; and reduce the risk of some types of cancer, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. Of course, we wouldn’t be telling you all this unless it helped with joint inflammation, which it does! Aim for two servings per day, hot or cold, and be sure to use tea bags, not the powdered mixes which are more processed.
While no one food is truly magical, making pain and inflammation vanish in a snap, these six foods have been proven to help reduce inflammation when eaten regularly. Subscribe to our blog today to stay current on issues of joint and bone health and the latest advancements in orthopedics, including our very own BandGrip wound closure technology.