Joint pain, discomfort and decreased mobility. These are just some of the symptoms that may sound familiar to you if you suffer from arthritis, an inflammatory condition of the joints that occurs in as many as 4.5 million Canadians. Although there is no cure for arthritis, the inflammation causing this pain can often be aggravated by certain dietary and lifestyle habits. While removing foods, especially the ones you love from your diet can be challenging, there are some foods you can easily include more of in your weekly routine that can help decrease the inflammation and help improve your well-being.
Ready to kick joint pain to the curb? Start by stocking up on these 4 foods today:
It’s common knowledge that fruit should be an essential part of your diet because it is high in many nutrients, fibre and antioxidants. But now you might want to start adding a little more cherries and berries into your everyday meals. Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and tart cherries contain a potent antioxidant known as anthocyanins. Studies show that this component that gives these fruits their brightly-coloured glow can help reduce inflammation in the body, while also supplying you with important essential vitamins and minerals. Plus, they just make everything berry more delicious.
TIP: Incorporating berries and cherries into your diet can be easy. Eat them as a midday snack, blend in a smoothie, or add a handful to your breakfast. Berries and cherries can also be enjoyed year-round.
In a well-balanced diet, fish should be consumed weekly due to its high omega-3 essential fatty acid content, an anti-inflammatory nutrient that can only be obtained through food or supplements. If you experience joint pain and stiffness, try increasing your daily fish intake to at least two times per week and aim for fish such as wild- caught salmon, mackerel, sardines and anchovies, as these tend to be lower in contaminants. If you find it difficult to include fish in your weekly diet routine, supplementing daily with fish oil can help ensure you get enough omega-3s.
TIP: Inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids are prevalent in the standard diet and can be found in foods such as chicken, dairy, vegetables oils and packaged foods. That’s why it’s important to maintain a good balance by consuming omega-3 fatty acids in the form of fish, avocados and nuts.
Spice it up
Spices do more than just enhance the flavour of your food; most spices have some great health benefits too. The curcumin in turmeric and the gingerol in ginger are powerful anti-inflammatories which research has consistently shown to be extremely helpful in naturally reducing inflammation, as they can work similarly to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for pain relief. For this reason, many joint care supplements contain either turmeric or ginger because they can be helpful for relieving joint pain.
It’s important to note that ginger can also act as a blood thinner, so if you are currently taking blood-thinning medications, speak to your healthcare practitioner before incorporating ginger into your diet.
TIP: Both turmeric and ginger can be easily incorporated into your everyday cooking. Simply sprinkle the spice or grate the fresh root into your soup, stirfrys, or marinades or even smoothies!
C is for collagen
It’s only natural for collagen to decrease with age, but in cases with osteoarthritis, the collagen in your body breaks down when the joints and bones rub each other, which can further contribute to the pain. Consuming foods high in vitamin C can help maintain the collagen in the body so that it continues to act as cushioning for the joints. Foods high in vitamin C include citrus fruits, papaya, pineapple and vegetables such as broccoli and kale.
TIP: Vitamin C is volatile to heat and light. To make sure you get enough vitamin C from your favourite foods listed above, they are best eaten raw or lightly steamed.
Do you have any joint pain relief tips? Share them in the comments below!
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