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Anti-inflammatory Foods To Reduce Joint Pain

Written by Jillian Lai Mei Siew on Tue, 27 December 2022 — Fact checked by Dr. Pulyk Nataliya Omelanivna

Key Highlights

  • The overuse of our joints can lead to the wear and tear of the cartilage.
  • Choosing the right anti-inflammatory foods consistently can reduce the risk of illness.
  • Green leafy vegetables rich in vitamin K such as spinach, kale, collards, fenugreek, etc. are excellent sources of antioxidants.
  • Avoiding processed, deep-fried, and seasoned foods are the first step in preventing the worsening of inflammation.
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The overuse of our joints due to heavy exercise or exertion can lead to the wear and tear of the cartilage (the protective tissue covering our bones and joints). Other reasons such as a sprain, strain, and fractures due to accidents, etc. can also affect your joints.

Being inactive and immobile can also affect your joint health. These minor joint issues can later surface as arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, gout, and more. These factors along with other factors such as age, genetics, climate conditions, diet and lifestyle, etc. also play an essential role in joint health.

Another major reason for joint pain is inflammation. In this article, we will see what inflammation is, and how an anti-inflammatory diet with the right anti-inflammatory foods can help in reducing joint pain.

Understanding inflammation

Inflammation is the process in which our body’s immune system produces white blood cells and other proteins to tackle infection caused by microbes, pollen, or other foreign entities.

Inflammation is healthy if it occurs for an acute period of time. It is essential for the healing process. However, if this inflammatory process lasts too long, it can lead to chronic inflammation in the body.

Acute or chronic inflammation in the joints can be due to wounds, allergies, or diseases. This can lead to severe pain, swelling, and stiffness, in the joints and lead to joint diseases like arthritis, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritic, gouty arthritis, lupus, etc.

Tackling inflammation

Although inflamed joints can be a pain, there are ways to prevent, slow down, or manage their occurrence and progression.

Maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy diet, and considering supplements are good ways to tackle chronic inflammation.

Diet and lifestyle play a significant role. Maintaining a clean lifestyle, that is avoiding drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes are a great place to start.

Anti-inflammatory foods for joint health

The most essential ingredients to tackle inflammation are not available at the doctor’s clinic or at the pharmacy. Rather, they are available in our local markets! There are numerous studies that talk about how our day-to-day foods such as fresh fruits, vegetables, roots, sprouts, nuts, etc are packed with anti-inflammatory properties.

These are foods high in antioxidants and nutrients. Choosing the right anti-inflammatory foods consistently can reduce the risk of illness whereas consuming the wrong foods may accelerate inflammation in the body.

Healthcare practitioners often advise their patients to choose anti-inflammatory foods. These include fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, plant-based proteins (beans, nuts, legumes, etc.) fatty fish, herbs, spices, and so on.

To understand what is good is good for you, it is essential you first identify the bad guys. Here are some foods that are known triggers of inflammation in the body. Knowing them is step 1. Avoiding them is step 2. Let's find out!

Foods that cause inflammation 

Tackling joint diseases with the anti-inflammatory diets

  • Refined carbohydrates such as white bread, pasta, cakes, and so on. 
  • Deep-fried foods and snacks like potato chips, French fries, etc. 
  • Sugary and carbonated fizzy drinks like cola. 
  • Red meat that is fresh (steak) or processed (sausages) 
  • Unhealthy fats such as margarine, shortening, and lard.

Now that we are all caught up on inflammation causing foods. Let's have a look at the anti-inflammatory foods that can fight joint inflammation.

Anti-inflammatory foods that fight inflammation

1. Fresh vegetables

  • Green leafy vegetables rich in vitamin K such as spinach, kale, collards, fenugreek, etc. are excellent sources of antioxidants.
  • Other vegetables like broccoli, green beans, cauliflower, bell peppers, and so on are also high in anti-inflammatory properties.

2. Fruits and berries

  • Colorful fruits and berries are rich in anthocyanins.
  • This component is responsible for the heightened levels of anti-oxidants in berries such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and some fruits such as tomatoes, and, grapes.

3. Nuts and seeds

  • Brimming with healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals, nuts like almonds, walnuts, pecans, etc. And seeds like sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, and pumpkin seeds, are great sources of antioxidants.

4. Healthy fats

  • Healthy fats such as olive oil, ghee, avocado oil, sesame oil, etc contribute to what we call as ‘good fats’.
  • These are rich sources of anti-inflammatory foods that can help your joint health.

Anti-inflammatory Diet

Tackling joint diseases with the anti-inflammatory diets

Avoiding processed, deep-fried, and seasoned foods are the first step in preventing the worsening of inflammation.

There are a number of anti-inflammatory diets trending. However, the base of them all is the consumption of fresh fruits, berries, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, fatty fish, healthy oils like olive oil, low-fat dairy, nuts, and seeds.

Keeping your meals as fresh and natural as possible is the goal of an anti-inflammatory diet.

The various anti-inflammatory diets are:

  • Mediterranean diet
  • DASH diet
  • Dr. Andrew Weil’s anti-inflammatory diet
  • Blue zone diet
  • Okinawa diet

Benefits of an anti-inflammatory diet

  • Decreased risk of gout by 60%.
  • Reduction of inflammation levels in the body.
  • Polyphenols exert a protective action.
  • May improve the symptoms of diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.
  • May reduce chronic pain caused by osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Conclusion

Starting on an anti-inflammatory diet can work wonders for your joints as well as your overall health. Be mindful and consistent with your diet, and slowly you will be able to experience the benefits of an anti-inflammatory diet.

To know more about nutrition.

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Jillian Lai Mei Siew

As the Product Consultant Manager of Mega BiO-LiFE, Jillian Lai Mei Siew, has the role of providing a productive team spirit among all Product Consultants to equip them with the right health nutritional information. Jillian is a BSc in Nutrition and Community Health, and a MSc in Nutritional Sciences an from Universiti Putra Malaysia. Affiliated to the Professional Affiliation Languages & Dialects Nutrition Society of Malaysia, NSM, Jillian can speak English, Cantonese, Mandarin, Hokkien and Malay.

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  1. An anti-inflammatory diet may be good for your joints 
  2. Mediterranean diet linked to lower inflammation and healthy ageing 
  3. The best anti-inflammatory diets 
  4. Foods that fight inflammation
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