The 11 best foods for healthy joints
By Louise Belle BHSc (Nut Med)
As we age, general wear and tear means that our joint health declines and we are more prone to getting stiff, creaking joints and arthritis. Between each joint we have a gel-like substance (synovial fluid) which cushions the joint and prevents the bones from grinding together. Over time this can wear away, causing stiffness in the joint. Arthritis occurs when there is inflammation and swelling in the joints, which can be uncomfortable and painful. Did you know that your diet plays a huge role in the health of your joints? There are particular nutrients found in foods that the body needs to maintain the bones, cartilage and cushioning in the joints and help to keep inflammation at bay. If you aren’t getting enough of these nutrients in your diet, your joint health can decline.
The best foods for the joints are:
1. Chia seeds
Good things come in small packages! These tiny little superfood seeds are a brilliant source of a-linolenic acid (ALA), a vegetarian source of omega 3. For those that don’t eat fish, eating plenty of chia seeds and flax seeds will give you an omega 3 boost and support your joints.
2. Bone broth
This broth is made by boiling down bones, such as chicken or beef. Whilst it may not sound overly appealing when described this way, bone broth is incredibly beneficial for your joints. It provides gelatine and collagen which help to nourish the joints and to keep them strong and flexible.
This wonderful tropical fruit has more benefits for you than to make a Pina Colada! This fruit is high in an enzyme called bromelain, which has been shown to reduce inflammation and swelling in the body. The core of the pineapple has the highest concentration of bromelain, so be sure to eat or juice it!
This pink fish is a fantastic source of the essential fatty acids EPA and DHA, providing over 1000mg of good fats per serve. These omega 3 fatty acids are highly important for your overall health, but will help to reduce inflammation in the joints. It is important to source wild caught salmon as it is less likely to be contaminated with heavy metals.
Well known as an antibacterial food, garlic is also anti-inflammatory to the body and rich in smelly sulphur. Sulphur contains Methyl Sulfonyl Methane, otherwise known as MSM and is very important for rebuilding connective tissue and supporting joint function. Try crushing a garlic clove and serving with a teaspoon of natural honey.
7. Citrus fruit
Lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit and tangerines are wonderful citrus fruits that are rich in potent antioxidants, vitamin C and bioflavonoids. They help to reduce inflammation, oxidation and damage in the body and help to rebuild collagen in the body to support and protect the joints and connective tissue.
This spice has gained a lot of popularity over the years, and for good reason! The active substance in turmeric is called curcumin, and has been shown to block the COX-2 enzymes that are responsible for creating inflammation in the body. It can also help to reduce joint pain and swelling and improve joint motility.
Broccoli is a vegetable from the brassica family, that contains sulphur. This sulphur is not only needed for connective tissue health, but is also used by the liver to clear out excess toxins and heavy metals. These toxins can cause inflammation in the joints if they are left to float around, so supporting the liver in clearing them out is really important.
Blueberries, cherries, blackberries, raspberries and other berries are rich in an antioxidant pigment called anthocyanins, which help to fight inflammation and oxidative damage in the body. They are also rich in vitamin C, which is vital for collagen production, to make the joints strong and flexible.
11. Extra virgin olive oil
Extracted from olives, this oil is a major component of the Mediterranean diet, which promotes eating an abundance of omega 3 fats. Extra virgin olive oil is less refined than regular olive oil, containing more of the beneficial properties. It will help to keep your joints healthy, and the best part is- you can drizzle it over almost anything!
Juicing is a fantastic way to get concentrated nutrients into your system to soothe and heal your joints. See Dr Cabot’s book Raw Juices Can Save Your Life for delicious, therapeutic juice recipes for any condition. If your joint pain is a result of an autoimmune condition, you would benefit from reading Dr Cabot’s book Healing Autoimmune Disease to combat inflammation and balance your immune system.