Many of us experience stiffness and soreness, particularly in those connections between our bones that allow us to move freely—our joints! As much as one third of all adults in the U.S. reported having joint pain within the last 30 days.
Joint pain can be caused by a number of conditions, such as arthritis or bursitis or injuries like strains and sprains, and tends to become more common as we age. Most people are able to manage their pain with physical therapy, chiropractic care or over-the-counter or prescription medications that help reduce inflammation.
But did you know that what you eat can have an impact on how your joints feel, too?
The Mediterranean Diet
You’ve heard that the Mediterranean diet is good for your heart, and it turns out it’s great for the rest of your body, too. While there’s no single definition, the typical Mediterranean-style diet is high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds and healthy oils, and low in dairy and red meat.
Recent research suggests that a whole-foods, plant-based diet can alleviate pain and improve function for those suffering with osteoarthritis. Another research team looking specifically at vegetables in the broccoli family—including broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts and kale—found that an antioxidant common in these types of vegetables, blocked an enzyme that causes joint pain and inflammation.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Commonly associated with cold-water fish such as wild-caught salmon, trout and sardines, omega-3 fatty acids can also be found in flax seeds, chia seeds and soybeans.
A large body of research has tied omega-3 fatty acids to health benefits including lower risk of heart disease and inflammation, but research from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center also showed that omega-3s were both as effective as and safer than nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for arthritic, neck and back pain.
Although less-researched than the Mediterranean diet or omega-3 fatty acids, early studies at the University of Arizona College of Medicine showed that certain compounds in turmeric inhibited the onset of rheumatoid arthritis in animal trials by fighting the production of inflammatory proteins in the joints.
One of the most popular beverages across the globe, green tea also lowers risk of heart attack and stroke, and may protect bone health, fight infection, lower stress levels and more. Plus, in animal trials at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, green tea helped to alter the effects of autoimmune arthritis against the body.
When it comes to keeping your body pain-free long-term, taking preventative steps to be healthy at home is always the best point to start. But if you need additional support, Orthology is here to help you move more and live better.