One of the greatest contributors to joint pain is inflammation. It's the body's reaction to injury or damage, but when inflammation's out of control it can lead to severe impairment of mobility and increased pain. Fortunately, it can be attacked head-on and at the cellular level with inflammation-reducing foods, supplements and exercise.
Here are 9 ways to reduce inflammation:
1. Put your kitchen on a diet.
Empty your fridge and pantry of food that will add to joint pain. Out go high-carb, high-salt, unhealthy trans fats and saturated fat-laden foods.
2. Shop for healthy joints.
This means that you'll want to buy:
- Vegetables full of vitamins and phytonutrients (zucchini, red peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, and more)
- Seasonings to liven up your meals and please your palate (including ginger, garlic, cinnamon)
- Dairy products that contain healthy fats to slow carbohydrate absorption (cottage cheese, yogurt, mozzarella cheese)
- Fruits that are full of nutrients and fiber (apple, avocado, pomegranate)
- Beans that are packed with protein and fiber (like chick peas, lentils)
- Breads and pastas that are tasty and low-carb (such as pumpernickel, whole wheat, fettuccine egg pasta)
- Proteins that are the mainstay of an anti-inflammatory diet (including salmon, lobster, grass-fed beef)
3. Dump your coffee and drink green tea instead.
Green tea burns calories, protects your cartilage, reduces the rate of bone loss, and is a powerful inflammation fighter.
4. Add fiber—particularly in snacks.
It will add to the feeling of fullness and bridge the gap between meals. Munch on apple slices or thin slices of cucumber with hummus. When eaten with carbohydrates, the fiber will slow down the absorption of the inflammation provoking carbohydrates.
5. Restrict carbs.
They cause the hormone insulin to be secreted and insulin is inflammatory. Keep your carbs to no more than 50 grams per day (approximately one regular-sized bagel or two bananas) and no more than 25 grams in any one meal.
6. Power up your protein.
Go for lean cuts of grass-fed beef or wild salmon to boost your protein. These powerful protein sources will provide healthy saturated fats (yes, there are healthy saturated fats!) as well as inflammation-fighting Omega-3 fats that will help keep you trim and give your joints some relief.
7. Skip dessert, but still satisfy your sweet tooth.
A dessert loaded with sugar will cause your joints to ache and your waistline to expand. But, you don't need to feel deprived—a small bowl of delicious ripe berries (strawberries, blackberries) topped with tasty whipped cream will not only satisfy your sweet craving, but the little bit of fat in the whipped cream will slow the absorption of carbs and keep your insulin levels in check.
8. Choose the right supplements.
For reducing inflammation, supplements that can help enormously are curcumin, boswellia, and resveratrol. Remember, though: not all supplements are created equal. Purchase yours from manufacturers that test each batch. Keep in mind that the least expensive is not likely to be the best choice.
9. Move right and move right now!
Add aerobic, strength, and flexibility exercises to your life. Even 10 minutes a day can help your joints. And if you're in pain, move wisely—walk, use the lightest weight possible, and gently stretch.
By making these changes you can reduce the amount of inflammation in your joints, reduce your pain, and get moving in the right direction for a life of mobility, enjoyment and comfort.
Ready to learn how to fight inflammation and address autoimmune disease through the power of food? Join our 5-Day Inflammation Video Summit with mindbodygreen’s top doctors.