The body is powerful and complex, designed perfectly to keep you moving. But fueling your body with the wrong stuff wreaks havoc on your health and can worsen the inflammation that causes joint pain.
At Nebben Physical Medicine in Clarksville, Tennessee, our team of functional medicine experts knows how important diet is to your joints and overall health. We know the foods you’re eating (or not eating) can make or break your musculoskeletal system.
With your joint health in mind, this blog highlights a few diet do’s and don’ts when eating.
Eat this: Fatty fish
Salmon, tuna, sardines, oysters, and the like are packed to the gills with omega-3 fatty acids, which contain powerful anti-inflammatory properties. That’s good news for your stiff, achy, swollen joints.
Research shows that folks with arthritis who consumed regular doses of omega-3s had less stiffness and tenderness and experienced improved strength.
Not that: Sugary beverages
Sugar is notorious for exacerbating inflammation, and it’s all too easy to overindulge when you’re guzzling down a soft drink or juice. Women should have no more than 6 teaspoons (25 grams) of sugar per day, and men should stick to 9 teaspoons (36 grams).
Your drinks might not be the only sugary culprits — check your favorite sauces and salad dressings too.
Eat this: Whole grains
Whole-grain foods like brown rice, oatmeal, and whole-wheat bread are full of inflammation-fighting antioxidants, phytic acid, vitamin E, and selenium. And they’re full of fiber, which also can help bring down inflammation in your body.
As a rule, women should get 25 grams of fiber every day, and men should get 38.
Not that: Processed and red meats
Some studies link red and processed meats with increased inflammation, which can make your joint pain worse.
Eat this: Mango
Mangoes deliver plenty of the vitamins and fiber you’d expect from fruit but also contain a secret ingredient: mangiferin. Mangiferin is a compound unique to mangoes that may make them one of the most powerful inflammation-fighting fruits available.
Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, dried plums, and pomegranates also contain anti-inflammatory properties.
Not that: Gluten
Gluten is a group of proteins found in wheat, barley, rye, and other cereals and has been linked with increased inflammation. Furthermore, people with celiac disease are at increased risk of rheumatoid arthritis.
Eat this: Mediterranean diet
The Mediterranean diet is less of a food and more of a lifestyle, changing how you eat.
With this diet, you only eat foods that serve your body best. That means lots of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and olive oil; moderate amounts of fish, poultry, and dairy; and little to no red meat.
This diet and approach to food can improve everything from your arthritic joints to your brain health and functioning.
Not that: Fast food
Fast food may be convenient, but your joints (and the rest of your body) pay for it later. That’s because fast food is usually highly processed and has lots of refined grains, added sugar, preservatives, fructose, and other inflammation-causing ingredients.
Eat this: Matcha
If you’re a caffeine hound, swapping matcha for your morning cup of joe could be an easy way to support your joint health. Matcha, made from green tea leaves, is a great energizer and comes packed with antioxidants to help fight inflammation.
Not that: Salty foods
Some research shows a salty diet may be a risk factor for inflammatory arthritis. Read all food labels to keep your salt intake within healthy ranges.
Eating to support your joints doesn’t have to be complicated. When you combine diet changes with our joint pain treatment options, you might see dramatic improvements in your symptoms.
If you still have questions about how to best support your arthritic joints, don’t hesitate to call our friendly staff or use our online booking tool to schedule a joint pain consultation today.