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4 Dietary Changes That May Help Joint Pain

diet-changes-joint-pain

If you experience some degree of chronic joint pain, you aren’t alone. According to the CDC, around 54 million American adults – 22.7% of the adult population – have been diagnosed with chronic joint pain caused by arthritis (including rheumatoid), gout, lupus, or fibromyalgia.

Despite that number and the increase in the risk for joint pain that comes with aging, chronic joint pain does not have to derail your life. Whether you’re just beginning to experience occasional joint pain or deal with chronic joint pain due to one of the diagnoses above, there may be ways to manage and lessen the severity of joint pain. Along with working with your primary care physician as a first step, you can follow these four supportive lifestyles and dietary changes that may help joint pain.

4 Dietary Changes That May Help Joint Pain

While there are a number of medications (both prescription and OTC) that may be used to help joint pain, what we eat has a significant effect on inflammation and joint pain. Some studies demonstrate how foods, spices, and supplements have a measurable effect on inflammation and joint pain.

Here are some tips and dietary changes that may help your joint pain.

The Mediterranean Diet

Even if you don’t stick strictly to the Mediterranean diet, its key principles have a number of studied health benefits, many of which are similar to benefits attributed to using NSAID medications. Any diet that prioritizes plant-based whole foods and is free of refined foods has similar benefits.

The Mediterranean diet refers to a diet that incorporates the following:

  • Lots of low-glycemic fruits, vegetables, and legumes
  • Lots of unsaturated fats (particularly olive oil)
  • Modest amounts of alcohol (primarily wine)
  • Moderate to high levels of wild fish
  • Low levels of dairy and red meat

Eat More Fish and Fish Oil

Fish oils have high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties and have been studied for their efficacy in helping joint pain. Ideally, the best way to get fish oil is by starting with cold-water fish.

Choose to eat a serving of wild cold-water fish like wild salmon, trout, and sardines twice a week. Fish provides an excellent source of fish oil. If you don’t eat fish, look for natural omega-3s from chia seeds, flax seeds, and organic soybeans. However, get as much as you can through whole-food sources.

Eat Cruciferous Vegetables

Along with your daily vegetable intake, try to add half a cup of cruciferous vegetables to your diet. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and Brussels sprouts contain an antioxidant compound that disrupts an enzyme linked with joint pain and inflammation, making cruciferous vegetables a smart dietary choice for those with joint concerns.

Incorporate Spices and Herbs

Add turmeric and ginger to your diet. Both have long been used in natural and traditional Asian medicine for their purported anti-inflammatory properties. Recent research has shown a promising link between turmeric and preventing rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

Another dietary change that may support healthy joints or provide temporary relief from occasional discomfort in joints are natural supplements from NutriDyn, Perque, and Ortho Molecular.

Chondro-Relief Intensive Care – NutriDyn

If you’re looking for more ways to help maintain joint strength and flexibility, consider Chondro-Relief Intensive Care from NutriDyn. Chondro-Relief Intensive Care is a daily dietary supplement that supports cartilage integrity and joint health with ingredients like vitamin C, manganese, D-Glucosamine, MSM, and more. MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) in particular may help provide temporary relief for those experiencing occasional joint pain, swelling, or irritation.

Pain Guard Forte (BioQuercitin Fore) – Perque

Pain Guard Forte (BioQuercitin Forte) from Perque is a dietary supplement formulated especially with those experiencing joint swelling or pain from exercise or over-exertion. Pain Guard Forte contains all-natural ingredients like magnesium, quercetin, OPC, and vegetable fiber to support your body’s natural ability to repair tissues and restore health.

Orthomega 820 Fish Oil – Ortho Molecular

Orthomega 820 Fish Oil from Ortho Molecular is a molecularly distilled, high concentration triglyceride omega-3 fish oil supplement providing 820 mg of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) per softgel serving for optimal absorption and anti-inflammatory support.

What dietary changes have you seen help the most with joint pain?

Heart Healthy Nutrition Mediterranean Style

MeditBy Susan Brown

” If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health.” ~ Hippocrates

Those of us searching for a nutritional lifestyle where good taste convenes with good health can stop looking and start eating.  The Mediterranean diet is not a single plan but it is a simple one inspired by the traditional dietary patterns of Europeans from the regions of Greece, Spain, and southern Italy to northern Africa and the Middle East.  It’s not necessary to live along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea to embrace this dietary plan and lifestyle.  Healthy eating is only as far away as your local supermarket.  All that’s required is a change of mindset from “diet plan” to a healthy pattern of living and eating. 

The diet relies heavily on simply prepared unprocessed seasonal whole foods, including heart-healthy extra virgin olive oil, protein-rich legumes, fish, whole unrefined grains, nuts, olives, cheese, yogurt, fruits, poultry, limited amounts of red meat, moderate amounts of red wine and lots and lots of vegetables.  The addition of herbs and spices that allow for a reduction of salt and the use of olive oil as opposed to dairy fats contribute to healthy, flavorful and favorable choices.  The combination of these foods provides the micronutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber that work cooperatively to nourish the body and protect against chronic disease. 

Continuing studies and growing research show that this ancient dietary lifestyle leads to a longer lifespan and is a major protection factor against chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, obesity, and some types of cancer.  Research from the Minneapolis Heart Institute shows that a Mediterranean style diet greatly benefits those with diabetes, including lowering their A1C levels which show how well patients are managing their disease. 

Studies show that this diet is not only beneficial for maintaining a healthy weight but also for a reduction of cardiovascular risk factors including total cholesterol and triglyceride levels, blood pressure levels, and blood glucose levels.  Extensive studies also link the Mediterranean diet to reduced chances of metabolic syndrome risk factors that contribute to heart disease, diabetes and stroke. 

The Mediterranean philosophy for optimal health includes not only diet but other healthy lifestyle choices as well.  These include leisurely family meals and regular physical activity.  For the Mediterranean people food is more than simply sustenance.  Their dishes are steeped in personal history and cultural traditions.  To incorporate the health benefits associated with traditional Mediterranean diets:

  • Fresh, minimally processed foods should make up the majority of your meals. 
  • Replace butter with extra virgin olive oil.  Use it on salads, for cooking and for dipping. 
  • Snack on small quantities of nuts and seeds instead of cookies and candies. 
  • Have a generous leafy green salad every day.
  • Switch to whole grains including bread, pasta and other grains.  Whole grain must be the first ingredient on the food label.  If it says “enriched whole wheat” it is not whole grain. 
  • Have fish at least twice a week.  This can be broiled, baked or sautéed but not fried. 
  • Reduce red meat consumption and substitute with poultry or vegetarian meals.
  • Have fruit salad for dessert.
  • Add beans and lentils to your meals several times per week. 
  • Limit alcohol to a glass or two of red wine with dinner. 
  • Fill half your plate with vegetables without added sauces.
  • Avoid trans fats, processed foods, sugary sweets and fast foods. 

The flavorful Mediterranean diet with its healthy fats, nutrients and fiber means that you may eat less but you will enjoy your food more.  Savor your meals and your time with family and friends and enjoy the health benefits that these delicious nutritious foods have to offer.  If you close your eyes, you can almost feel the warm sun and smell the salty sea breezes.  Hippocrates would be pleased.