Proper Nutrition Is Critical For Healthy Joints

The pharmacy is the first place that comes to mind for most people when joint pain flares up. While there may be some medications that provide short-term relief, a trip to the grocery store for joint-friendly foods can pave the way for long-term solutions to pain.

According to the National Institutes of Health, more than 50 million Americans suffer from joint pain and in many cases the discomfort is caused by arthritis. Joint pain can range from uncomfortable to debilitating, which is why Americans spend billions of dollars each year in their quest for relief. The most common treatments for joint pain are over-the-counter and prescription drugs, many of which have harmful side effects including permanent damage to the stomach lining. Fortunately, there are natural ways to support joint health.

According to the Arthritis Foundation, nutrition has a critical role to play in the management of joint pain. Holistic practitioners recommend diets that are high in Omega-3, Vitamin C, antioxidants and Vitamin K. Following are some benefits provided by these nutrients and foods that provide them.

Omega-3 Fatty acids: Foods containing omega-3 fatty acids are helpful because they reduce inflammation and lubricate the joints. Salmon is an excellent source. Olive oil, which is easily incorporated into any diet, is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

Vitamin C: This crucial vitamin helps the body to produce collagen, which can reduce the wear and tear on joints. It also promotes healing of bone and cartilage tissue, which is particularly helpful if the joint pain was caused by an injury. Good sources of vitamin C include fruits such as oranges, strawberries, pineapples and raspberries. Vegetables that are rich in vitamin C include collard greens, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage and green peppers.

Antioxidants: Oxidation produces free radicals in our bodies that are associated with several health problems, including joint damage. Because they fight free radicals and boost immunity, antioxidants help fight inflammation. Green tea, which contains polyphenols, catechins and antioxidants, provides substantial benefits for joint pain sufferers. Studies have shown that antioxidants called carotenoids that are present in brightly colored yellow/orange fruits are also helpful.

Vitamin K: A deficiency in Vitamin K has been linked to an increased risk of joint problems, including arthritis. Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that is prevalent in green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, Swiss chard, collards and turnip greens.

A proper diet, combined with moderate exercise and adequate rest can play an important role in joint health. Many people also use daily supplements to ensure they are getting the nutrients they need. Talk to your holistic practitioner about the diet and exercise plan that best supports your needs so you can remain active and vibrant for years to come.

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