Your diet really is important when it comes to your joints because what we eat can impact how our joints feel.
Some foods can help joint pain whilst others can hurt joint pain.
Inflammation is your body's way of healing and repairing itself as well as protecting itself from foreign invaders such as viruses and bacteria. When we eat highly processed, artificial foods which aren’t natural or found in nature, it comes as no surprise that our bodies recognise these foods as foreign too.
Here are the best and worst foods for your joint pain.
There are a number of delicious foods which can help with joint pain.
Here are some of the best foods which can help with joint pain - and some which make it much worse!
Foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory and work to reduce joint pain and stiffness by suppressing the production of enzymes that erode cartilage and proteins that regulate inflammation.1
Examples include fish such as salmon or mackerel but the problem is, much of this fish is now toxic. Salmon (and this holds true for other fish) can only be considered healthy if “wild caught,” meaning it was fished from its natural habitat, where it fed on natural organisms.
Luckily, organic (non-GMO) soybeans will do the trick.
Soybeans are loaded with omega-3 which helps prevent inflammation.
Soybeans are also packed with protein, rich in unsaturated fatty acids and contain low amounts of saturated fatty acids.
Avocado and soybeans have been shown to help prevent inflammation, have a protective effect on cartilage degradation and help to improve and relieve pain from arthritic symptoms.2
When my Dad asked me to research how to cure his chronic gout, years ago, which wasn't responding at all to what his Doctor recommended, I discovered the remarkable impact cherries can have on this painful problem.
Cherries contain anthocyanins, which is what gives them their red colouring. Anthocyanins have antioxidant properties that help to prevent inflammation in the body. They can also be found in red and purple fruits like strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries. Cherries are high in bioflavonoids that can actively help sore muscles and joints.3
One study found that people who drank 8 ounces of cherry juice daily experienced a significant reduction in pain and stiffness.4 What’s more, cherries have also been shown to be beneficial in gout management, with cherry intake being associated with a 50% lower risk of gout flare-ups.5
Broccoli is rich in vitamin K, which is thought to destroy inflammatory cells that contribute to arthritis,6 and also vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant that helps to fight off molecules that trigger rheumatoid inflammation.7 Broccoli also contains a compound called sulforaphane which could help slow the progression of osteoarthritis.
One study suggested that this compound may help slow down the breakdown of cartilage by reducing the production of the enzymes that contribute to human cartilage breakdown. However, it is important to note that this study involved human cells and cartilage samples from cows and mice, and further research needs to be done in order to identify whether it has the same level of beneficial effects on human cartilage.8
Regardless, broccoli is extremely good for us and the other nutrients present in this vegetable can contribute to the health of our joints. Broccoli is also high in calcium, which is great for strengthening and preserving the bones.
Ginger is something we have growing on our farm. Just plant it in a shady spot and enjoy the benefits of fresh ginger.
Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties known to help relieve muscle soreness, menstrual cramps, headaches and arthritis.
Traditionally and increasingly today ginger is used to help relieve everything from stomach aches to joint pain. This happens by blocking several enzymes which promote inflammation and discomfort. One study found that ginger significantly reduced pain and stiffness in the knee joint by 40% in people who suffer with osteoarthritis. 9
So, we’ve taken a little look at what foods can help our joint pain, now let’s explore those "foods" (because some of them really shouldn't be classified as foods, in our opinion!) which make joint pain worse.
When you experience joint pain, it is likely that your body is in an inflammatory state. Eating foods which cause further inflammation will not only worsen your joint pain but can also lead to heart disease, diabetes and obesity.
Sugar promotes the production of AGEs, inflammatory compounds which form when excess protein and sugar combine together. These compounds prematurely age our bodies and are linked to varying health conditions, all originating from increased inflammation.10
Sugar also causes peaks and dips in our blood sugar levels; high blood sugar alone causes inflammation, but intense swinging from extremities in blood sugar levels cause even more inflammation than a sustained blood sugar level.
Sugar is one of the most well-known inflammatory foods and excess consumption can lead to a number of serious health conditions. Limiting your intake may not only help your joint pain but it can also prevent energy crashes and fatigue. Sugar has many names so watch out for any words ending ‘ose’ like fructose or sucrose.
Remember: starchy foods like bread and baked goods turn to sugar in the body.
Examples include just about all processed food, including:
Saturated fats trigger adipose (fat tissue) inflammation. Saturated fats can increase the risk of strokes and heart disease as well as overall inflammation in the body. Research has found that saturated fats can weaken the cartilage in joints, particularly weight-bearing joints such as the hip and knees, and bring on osteoarthritis-like symptoms.11
Use of animal fat, butter and palm oil in the long term were found to weaken cartilage the most. Small amounts of saturated fats can be incorporated into a healthy diet although they shouldn’t make up more than 10% of your daily intake.
Examples of fats to avoid include:
While omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial for our joints, excess omega-6 fatty acids can have the opposite effect.
The body needs a healthy balance of all omegas and excess omega-6 can make the body produce pro-inflammatory chemicals.
Omega-6 fatty acids can be found in cheap processed oils like vegetable and sunflower oils and it is important to be aware of your intake and the effect they can have on the body.
Now you know what foods to enjoy and which to avoid, you can take control of your aches and pains.
Most of all, aim for unprocessed "SOUL" food:
It's easier said than done, which is why we're here to give you a helping hand with our Pure Nutrition formulas.
We know our GYBB 23 Amino Formulas - AminoBoosters, AminoB12, AminoPure+, and AminoSerene - contribute to cortisol management, which reduces stress and inflammation, and also helps the brain and body through stem cell regeneration.
Make sure you get the unique pure nutrition of GYBB formulas and eat well too.
Here's to your health.