5 Foods to Protect Joints & Boost Joint Health
Feeling stiff, slow or sore? Try these five foods to help get things moving again!
Containing omega 3 (EPA and DHA) in a bioavailable form to the body, eating oily fish twice weekly can support joint health by helping to reduce inflammation, supporting the production of the synovial fluid lubricating the joints and help reduce the severity of “morning joint stiffness”. To help you remember which fish contain most Essential Fatty Acids think S.M.A.S.H (salmon, mackerel, anchovy, sardine, herring). Oily fish is also a good source Vitamin D - low levels of which has been shown be associated with the increased risk of progression for osteoarthritis. Its also critical for the storage of calcium in the bones.
Natures golden spice, we know it as the powdered root. Its name means “blessing of the earth”, a proven anti-inflammatory for the joints and may be supportive for osteoarthritis. Research has focused mainly on the yellow pigment called Curcumin. Cooking using the whole spice gives benefit from the whole spectrum of curcuminoids, resins and other oils is an easy and palatable way to take your daily dose of Turmeric. To improve its abortion and bioavailability ensure you cook it with black pepper and some form of oil or fat. Try it added into curries, casseroles, smoothies, mixed with any dairy milk or milk alternative, a grating of nutmeg or vanilla essence as a relaxing before bed anti-inflammatory drink!
The sweet and juicy flesh the pineapple has many anti-inflammatory properties, reducing swelling in inflammatory conditions such as gout and arthritis. This is due to the action of bromelain, a sulphur containing enzyme. Bromelain is not only anti-inflammatory but also aids the digestion of protein, essential for muscle and cartilage repair. It is also a good source of vitamin C, manganese and copper, all supportive to joint health. Whether in a fresh fruit salad, in a smoothie or cake or even a pizza topping, fresh cut pineapple is a must as an everyday tonic!
A spicy, slightly sweet medicinal rhizome (root and stems). Ginger has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties working in the body in a similar way to ibuprofen. The active components are gingerols and are present in any ginger preparation, though grated fresh root is considered the best. Switch your regular hot beverage to a ginger tea once a day, grate it into soups, curries, into smoothies, or as a sweet treat added into cakes, biscuits or a piece of crystallised ginger. If you leave the ginger root unpeeled in the refrigerator, it will last up to 3 weeks!
A member of the cruciferous family of vegetables, kale is jam packed with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. It contains Vitamin C, manganese, beta carotene (vitamin A) calcium, fatty acids and copper – all of which support muscular, joint and bone health. One phytonutrient also present are glucosinolates (sulphur rich compounds) that have anti-inflammatory properties. Often left in a packet in the fridge, a natural health choice but strong in flavour and texture. Why not try pureeing (using a hand blender or smoothie maker) into a tomato based sauce, or sprinkle with garlic powder, a drizzle of olive oil, popped into the oven on a low heat to make Kale crisps.
If you want to know more about Nutrition why not try one of The School of Health's Nutrition Courses.