Nutrition plays a huge role in our lives and an even bigger one in treating chronic diseases.
For decades, foods have been tailored to treat certain conditions.
In today’s world, many doctors recommend a change in diet as part of treating many diseases.
A change in your diet can mean the difference between staying in bed all day or getting to do various activities on your feet.
Causes of Joint Pain
Joint pains are caused by several factors. It can date back to an injury you had at work or sport even decades ago, but the most common factor is arthritis.
There are more than a hundred kinds of arthritis, and each one can affect your joints in a different way.
When you hear about arthritis, it’s common to think about older people, but even young people and children can be afflicted with it.
A few of the symptoms involve redness and warmth in joints, swelling, pain, reduced movement of said joint, stiffness and a general feeling of uneasiness.
However, research suggests that numerous diseases are reversible and even preventable. It depends on the changes you do in your life.
Finding the cause is a good start. Rather than taking in various anti-inflammatory medicine, you can try looking at the food you consume.
Free yourself of the pain by knowing what to eat and what to avoid.
American diets today include foods that contribute to a chain of events recognized as the Inflammation Cascade.
Reducing these foods or entirely eliminating them from your diet can meaningfully lessen pain and inflammation in your muscles and joints.
Avoid these Foods
1. Cereals and Grains
Mostly in the form of pasta and bread, cereals and grains are almost a staple in today’s average American diet.
What you may have missed is the fact that all grains are exceedingly acidic in nature, and has gluten, a common allergen.
Also, pasta and bread are usually made with processed, bleached flours that further add to the acidity.
The starches contained in these foods are broken down into sugars, which your body later stores as fat.
Whole grain products may sound harmless, but they’re also often processed as bleached-out flour and have the “whole grains” integrated later.
To truly know that a product is made from whole grains, be sure to check the label and see that it doesn’t say “refined wheat flour” or “refined flour.”
2. Refined Sugars
High levels of insulin in your body activates enzymes that raise levels of arachidonic acids in your blood, which leads to inflammation.
Moreover, processed sugars like high-fructose corn syrup can cause a spike in your body’s insulin levels. Foods with high Glycemic Indexes (GI) tend to trigger it.
The GI rates carbohydrates with the effect they have on the blood glucose level.
3. Polyunsaturated Oils
These are high in omega-6 fatty acids that the body converts to arachidonic acid.
Soy, sunflower, peanut, corn, and safflower, to name a few have little to no omega-3 fatty acids at all.
The ones which do have it such as flaxseed and olive oils soothe inflammation.
You should also avoid hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils, and trans-fats because these produce free radicals that also lead to inflammation.
4. Saturated Fats
These are found in eggs, dairy, and red meat; while these foods are important sources of vitamins and minerals, they also have arachidonic acid.
With eggs, don’t break the egg yolks when you cook.
It is where the saturated fats are high in amount, and while raw, where arachidonic acid is formed.
Take note, however, that arachidonic acid is essential for health, but an excessive amount leads to inflammation.
Select lean cuts of red meat or choose to completely eliminate them and go with fish, venison, or poultry.
5. Processed Meats
These include hot dogs, sausages, lunch meats, and they contain vast amounts of nitrites, which have been associated with chronic diseased and joint inflammation.
Some people are born with nitrite allergy or develop them over time.
However, most don’t know it until they get tested by a doctor to find out if they are allergic to nitrite-containing foods.
7. Nightshade Fruits and Vegetables
Although there’s no formal research yet, it has been observed that some nightshade plants such as eggplants, tomatoes, and potatoes trigger inflammation in the joints and muscles.
These plants have a chemical called solanine that becomes the trigger chemical.
8. Foods you are Allergic to
While it may seem obvious to avoid these foods, you’ll notice a significant improvement in your joint pains when you do so.
Over time, when you know the foods that cause inflammation and actively choose to avoid them, you can adopt a diet best for not only your joint pains but overall relief.
With all these foods to avoid for inflammation, what can you do?
Bodybuilders and health experts have long expressed the importance of eating as much variety as possible, and we’re getting to the exciting part: the foods you can consume to help with joint pain.
Nutrients that Sooth Joint Pain
Before we get to the foods to consume, it is best to start with understanding the primary nutrients that are known to prevent and fight off pain.
This will make it easier for you to choose foods that provide two benefits in one: energy and pain relief.
Vitamin B – often efficient in hip pain relief. B vitamins ease pain in the joints and lessen inflammation.
Vitamin C – one of the most vital nutrients in your battle against arthritis pain.
This vitamin slows down the deterioration of joints, therefore slowing down the development and henceforth averting arthritis.
It gives your body the antioxidants that manage the action of free radicals.
It is also a key element in collagen formation, which is the significant component in bone and cartilage formation.
Calcium and Vitamin D – help prevent joint pain and protect your bones.
Calcium is known to avert the loss of bone density, thus keeping osteoporosis at bay.
Vitamin E – is also an effective pain reliever. People suffering from osteoarthritis especially find this helpful in easing pain experienced.
Foods that Combat Inflammation
Our list is not exhaustive and includes foods according to the nutrients they have.
However, a combination of these will provide you a meal rich in pain soothing nutrients.
1. Whole Foods
These are the best source of joint pain relief. Apples, bananas, cinnamon, pumpkins, raisins, and whole grains are excellent sources of energy and fiber.
These provide a mixture of several vitamins and give you the minimum daily requirements you need.
Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and spinach are excellent sources of vitamin E and C. You can also find vitamin C in some fruits such as apples, grapes, mangoes, and oranges.
Wheat and other whole grains are also good sources of vitamin B and E.
You can not only get vitamin D from fish but also omega-3 fatty acids that help reduce pain and inflammation.
Mackerel, salmon, trout, and tuna are just some of the fatty fish you can add to your diet.
A couple times of week eating fish is good, but if you’re not a big fan of fish, you can consult your doctor about taking omega-3 supplements.
4. Garlic and Turmeric
A member of the allium family, garlic contains a compound called diallyl disulfide that helps with several diseases, including arthritis.
Turmeric is noted for its anti-inflammatory benefit. It is often used in traditional Asian medicine because of its properties.
You can add turmeric to your eggs, sauces, or smoothies.
5. Green Tea
If you’re a fan of tea, this is already a natural step.
Green tea is among the most widely consumed drinks in the world, and its health effects are much celebrated.
It possesses anti-inflammatory properties and has been observed to be an active component in nutritional therapy.
Green tea contains high levels of polyphenols, which are antioxidants that slow down cartilage damage and reduce inflammation.
6. Hot Peppers
Habanero and serrano are rich in capsaicin, which has shown positive effects on relieving pain and inflammation, even preventing cancer as well.
Generally, the hotter the pepper, the more capsaicin there is. This means that mild peppers may only have little effect in relieving joint pain.
Walnuts are loaded with compounds and nutrients that help reduce joint inflammation.
They are high in omega-3 fatty acids.
Plus, nuts are good for your heart and have high levels of vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, and zinc.
These also have alpha-linolenic acid that boosts the immune system.
The Bottom Line
Clearly, your diet plays a significant role in experiencing and preventing joint pains.
Fortunately, the several foods above contain potent components that provide relief from inflammation, while also bettering your general health.
Also take note that being overweight can put extra pressure on your joints, which can worsen the symptoms of arthritis.
Having a balanced diet rich in anti-inflammatory fats, fiber, and plants can help you in managing your arthritis and maintaining a healthy weight.