Foods that help and foods that hurt your joints.
Many of us wake in the morning with stiffness or pain in our joints some days and other days without any problems and immediately discount it as aging or the all too common, “I must have arthritis”. What many don’t consider is our diet and how it effects our joints. In this article we’ll discuss some common foods and supplements that promote healthy joints and common foods to stay away from when you are feeling pain and stiffness in your joints.
Foods That Hurt
It’s no secret that sugar is unhealthy. Coffee drinks, sodas, juices, sweets, pastries, cakes, snack bars all contain high levels of sugar. The two most common sugar additives in our food are sucrose (table sugar) and high fructose corn syrup. When we eat excess amounts of sugar the body has trouble processing it. This causes an inflammatory response in the body.
Not only will sugar cause inflammation in the body, it also decreases immunity. Excess sugar will suppress the function of white blood cells that work to fight off bacteria that cause colds and other sicknesses. Sticking to the sugars in fruits and vegetables to avoid additional sugar additives is your best bet. It’s a good idea to start looking at nutrition labels to see how much sugar is in the food and drinks that you are consuming.
Vegetable oil and trans fat
Americans eat excessive amounts of vegetable oil. Our foods are full of these oils. Things like bread, crackers, mayonnaise, potato chips and fried foods. These foods that use vegetable oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids which are inflammatory. Not to mention, vegetable oils and foods that contain them are highly processed.
If you have to much salt in your diet you will accumulate and retain excess water resulting in some cases high blood pressure and calcium losses thus effecting your bones and joints.
Foods That Help
Methylsulfonylmethane(MSM) is a naturally occurring compound found in vegetables like brussel sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, asparagus, lettuce, corn, spinach and onions. These sulfur rich foods reduce joint pain and helps produce collagen which is essential for bones, ligaments, tendons and cartilage.
Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel and herring are great sources of protein. They also have high levels of omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA. Why are these omega-3s so important? Unlike plant based fatty acids, fatty fish omega-3s are already in an active form. This means that they are more efficient in attacking inflammation in the body. These omega-3s have also been shown to reduce heart disease, diabetes and kidney disease. Start adding fatty fish to your weekly diet for a tasty and healthy way to fight off pain.
Turmeric contains a powerful active compound called curcumin. It has potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. There are numerous benefits to turmeric including reduction of pain associated with arthritis and joint pain. You can take turmeric as a supplement or add it to foods and teas to get the benefits.
Magnesium is an essential dietary mineral found in nuts, legumes, leafy green vegetables and whole grains. Most Americans are deficient in this vital mineral. In fact, several studies on back pain, fibromyalgia and migraine have looked at magnesium deficiency as a cause. Magnesium has been found to inhibit Substance-P, which is an inflammatory chemical in the body associated with pain. It has been widely used to help with chronic pain disorders and fibromyalgia. Magnesium taken as a supplement or used as a topical oil is an excellent natural alternative to prescription medication.
Drinking water and staying properly hydrated helps lubricate your joints reducing stiffness and pain. Water is also essential for your body to flush toxins, aid in digestion, absorb nutrients and even maintain body temperature. And if that wasn’t enough drinking more water makes you fuller so you eat less and help with weight loss.
Low Fat or Non-Fat Milk
Drinking milk is a good source for calcium and vitamin D. Both calcium and vitamin D improves the strength of bones and also helps in the healing post-fracture. Choosing low-fat or non-fat milk you avoid the extra calories and saturated fat.
These are just a few foods and supplements that help or hurt. Making changes in your diet can drastically affect your pain levels even if you have had a chronic injury. Not only that, changes in diet can help with weight loss and improved energy. To stay as healthy as possible, keep your joints feeling good and inflammation down by avoiding foods that trigger it. The important thing is to listen to your body and how it responds to changes. If your pain is unmanageable or you are having difficulty understanding how your diet is affecting your pain, you may want to consult a pain relief and nutrition specialist as well to make sure you’re doing the right things for your body, health and fitness. This is key to making sure you’re on the right path to a healthy, energy-filled life.