Numerous factors can contribute to joint pain and its intensity, but one thing is for sure – this pain and discomfort negatively affects your quality of life. The impaired range of motion and flexibility make it difficult for you to walk, do everyday things, even being sedentary for prolonged periods can induce pain.
Consulting a healthcare provider and following the recommended treatment is of huge importance. Making lifestyle modifications, primarily regarding your diet, is an effective approach towards joint pain relief. This article presents natural joint pain relief foods to alleviate the pain.
7 Best Natural Joint Pain Relief Foods
Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables contain sulforaphane, a potent antioxidant with amazing anti-inflammatory effects. According to a study from the journal Arthritis and Rheumatism, sulforaphane helps slow down cartilage damage in joints affected by one of the most common types of arthritis, osteoarthritis (OA). Also, evidence shows this antioxidant fights inflammation by reducing levels of cytokines and NF-kB protein, both of which induce are pro-inflammatory.
2. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for overall health and wellbeing thanks to their anti-inflammatory characteristics. Lowering inflammation is always the most important strategy to relieve the pain. While omega-3 fatty acids are primarily found in salmon and other fatty fish you can also opt for fish oil supplements.
Turmeric is a spice that gives curry its distinctive color. What most of never realize is that turmeric is one of the most powerful herbs on the planet thanks to its active compound called curcumin.
In a study which included patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), curcumin was more effective than anti-inflammatory medication and without side effects. On the other hand, studies showed that curcumin is also beneficial for patients with OA too. The effects of curcumin in reducing pain, physical function, and improving the quality of life among OA patients can be attributed to its potential to prevent apoptosis of chondrocytes and suppression of pro-inflammatory NK-kB protein.
Garlic is one of the best natural joint relief foods due to a compound called diallyl disulfide which is associated with numerous health benefits including joint pain relief. The compound limits cartilage-damaging enzymes. For example, studies show that consumption of garlic shows joint protective properties through repressing the expression of matrix-degrading proteases in chondrocyte-like cells. Chondrocytes are cells found in cartilage.
Additionally, you can also relieve pain by eating one teaspoon of garlic paste with honey or other food twice a day. Another thing you can do is to warm up garlic paste with oil of your choice and apply it onto the affected joint.
5. Olive Oil
Olive oil is considered the healthiest oil in the world and for a good reason – it benefits your overall health and protects you from numerous diseases. While olive oil is usually linked to cardiovascular benefits, it can do wonders for your joints as well. It is particularly beneficial for patients who are diagnosed with RA. Supplementation with olive oil improves inflammatory markers and reduces oxidative stress in individuals with RA according to numerous studies. What’s more, olive oil appears to be even more beneficial in combination with omega-3 fatty acids.
In a study from journal Nutrition, a combination of fish oil and olive oil decreased the intensity of joint pain, improved handgrip strength, and alleviated morning stiffness in participants with RA. If you don’t use olive oil when cooking, you should definitely get a bottle today.
Cherries contain anthocyanins that can relieve joint pain thanks to anti-inflammatory effects. For example, consumption of tart cherry juice reduces blood markers of inflammation in women with OA. In a study from the Osteoarthritis Cartilage, participants who drank two 8-ounce bottles of tart cherry juice a day experienced less pain and stiffness after six weeks, compared to their counterparts. You can also find these beneficial anthocyanins in other purpose and red fruits including blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries.
Take the advantage of summer and look for fresh cherries (or other fruits) at the nearest farmer’s market.
7. Green Tea
While green tea is usually associated with weight loss, it has many other benefits that make it one of the healthiest beverages you can drink. Green tea owes its powerful effects to a compound called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) which blocks the production of molecules that cause joint damage, particularly in people with RA. Furthermore, the ability to help you lose weight is yet another mechanism through which green tea can relieve joint pain. Excessive weight adds more pressure to your joints and enhances pain.
Other Things to Do
Along with dietary modifications and enriching your menu with joint-healthy foods, other things you can do include:
- Exercise regularly in order to improve flexibility and range of motion, but make sure you do low-impact workouts to avoid adding more stress to your joints
- Practice yoga to relieve stress and improve your range of motion. Gentle stretches through different postures ensure that your joints get enough activity without over-exhausting them
- Apply hot compresses to relieve joint stiffness, particularly in the morning
- Use ice packs to relieve pain
- Add two cups of Epsom salt to warm bath water and soak for at least 20 minutes
- Meditate for stress relief and to learn how to cope with pain better
Things Not To Do
- Having too much rest
- Eating unhealthy diet
- Wearing uncomfortable shoes
- Underestimate the effects of your weight
- Being ashamed to use walking aids and other types of support for painful joints
- Avoiding to see the doctor
Joint pain is a common problem and affects millions of people around the world. The natural aging process, unhealthy lifestyle, and other factors contribute to development and severity of this problem. Some foods have amazing anti-inflammatory and joint-supporting benefits and deserve to be on your menu.