You know what they say: An apple a day …
And it’s true. Especially if you’re interested in superfoods that can improve your joint health. Apples contain anti-inflammatory antioxidants as well as boron and magnesium that are beneficial to the bones.
Apples are just one of many superfoods for healthy joints. Here’s a rundown on 12 other fruits, veggies, nuts, oils, spices and supplements that you’ll want to add to your diet.
1.Dark Green Leafy Vegetables
We’ve all heard about free radicals and the damage they can inflict on the body. Fight them with spinach, spring greens, broccoli and parsley, all of which contain the antioxidant carotenoids, as well as calcium and magnesium. Foods high in antioxidants can help reduce the rate of cartilage breakdown.
2. Oily fish
Oily fish can reduce joint pain and morning stiffness, thanks to the anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids they contain. Because it’s hard for many people to consume the recommended two to four weekly servings of fish like salmon and sardines, an omega-3 fish or krill oil supplement can help support joint health.
This super fruit contains antioxidant mono-saturated oils, essential fatty acids, beta-sitosterol and vitamin E—all hard workers in the fight against joint inflammation. It also promotes cartilage repair and is especially beneficial for osteoarthritis patients.
You probably recognize turmeric as a spice often found in curries and stir-fries, but it also contains a potent anti-inflammatory ingredient called curcumin. While it can be hard to eat enough of the spice to make a difference, it’s easy to throw it in a smoothie or take supplement.
5. Extra virgin olive oil
Olive oil contains oleocanthal, which blocks inflammation. Many studies report that increased olive oil consumption is directly correlated to a reduced risk of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
6. Onions and Garlic
Onions are a rich source of quercetin, an antioxidant that works to reduce inflammation. Red onions are particularly high in antioxidants. Garlic contains allicin, a compound that can help to alleviate symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
Grapefruit contains vitamin C and bioflavonoids, which work to reduce inflammation and strengthen cartilage. Opt for red grapefruit as it’s a richer source of antioxidants than yellow.
8. Green Tea
A study done at Case Western Reserve University showed that the antioxidants in green tea may prevent and reduce the severity of rheumatoid arthritis. Meanwhile, green, white, oolong and black teas all contain the antioxidant catechins, which inhibit inflammation in arthritic joints.
Cherries, elderberries and raspberries contain antioxidant anthocyanins that help to reduce inflammatory chemicals in the body. And black cherries lower uric acid levels, which helps to prevent gout.
10. Yogurt and Kefir
We’ve all heard about the importance of gut health. Yogurt and kefir contain probiotics, which may help reduce the degree of joint inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis. Kefir makes great smoothies and you can double the power of your drink by adding chia seeds, which are high in omega-3 fatty acids. This blueberry kefir smoothie is a good one to try.
11. Walnuts and Brazil Nuts
Like oily fish, walnuts are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce inflammation. Brazil nuts are high in selenium, which improves the quality of cartilage proteins.
12. Camu Camu
You probably have never heard of this one. Camu camu is a fine powder derived from an Amazonian fruit of the same name. It has impressive antioxidant properties and can be a great anti-inflammatory. It’s also rich in vitamin C. You can find it in health food stores or online.
While it may seem difficult to get in all of these foods, spices and supplements, remember that you don’t have to consume all of them every day. Maybe you have a kefir smoothie for breakfast one day. Or salmon served with spinach sautéed in olive oil for dinner. For a snack, you might choose an apple, Brazil nuts or raspberries, along with a cup of green tea. Eating for joint health can be delicious—and it’s good for your general health and well-being, too.
Think you may be suffering from joint pain? While these foods can help, it’s best to consult with a doctor for other ways to stay healthy.