Inflammation is one of those terms we hear about, often with little explanation or education. Could you be suffering from chronic inflammation, causing pain in your joints? Put simply, inflammation, in itself, isn’t a “bad” thing. It is the immune system’s natural healing response to injury. And once the issue is resolved, the inflammation subsides. But sometimes, the healing process goes into overdrive, causing chronic inflammation that can cause pain, swelling, and stiffness in the joints.
Harvard Medical School notes that there is no apparent cause for chronic inflammation, but it is known that the immune cells line the fluid of the joint, creating a thickening of its lining. Various forms of arthritis are due to chronic inflammation, for example.
Nutrition Plays a Role
So, what’s the good news? What we eat can affect the severity of inflammation of the joints. A healthful diet is important in so many ways, and for those with joint pain, a diet rich in the foods listed below can be life-changing. These foods are heart-healthy, too, making them part of a nutritious diet. Remember, it’s always recommended to consult with your doctor or nutritionist before making any substantial changes to your diet. The Cleveland Clinic explains how certain foods have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and analgesic (pain relieving) properties. Read more about these healing foods below and see if incorporating them into your diet makes a difference in your joint pain.
1. Salmon and Other Fish Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in cold-water fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, trout, and halibut. These polyunsaturated fatty acids are known to reduce inflammation throughout the body. If you don’t eat enough fish, consider a fish oil supplement added to your daily diet.
2. Cruciferous Vegetables
Mom always told you to eat your veggies, and there’s science behind it. Leafy greens like kale, spinach, arugula, and cabbage, as well as vegetables like Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower, can reduce joint swelling. Plus, they are high in fiber, promoting better digestion.
3. Seeds and Nuts
Seeds and nuts are not only tasty, but they can help reduce inflammation. Especially healthful are chia and flax seeds, almonds, walnuts, and pine nuts. Grab a handful as a snack or sprinkle them on your yogurt or cereal. They are a rich source of protein too.
Berries (particularly blueberries) are rich in flavonoids. Flavonoids are found in plants and have many beneficial qualities, including their anti-inflammatory properties. Fill your fruit bowl with colorful blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries, and satisfy your sweet tooth while doing something good for your body.
5. Olive Oil
Not all fats are unhealthy. In fact, we need unsaturated fat in our diet for overall wellness. When you are cooking with oil or using it in salad dressings or other recipes, choose olive oil over vegetable, corn, or peanut oil. Canola oil is another good choice if you don’t have olive oil on hand. Both of these oils contain omega-3 fatty acids (just like the types of fish mentioned above). And extra-virgin olive oil contains oleocanthal, a compound that aids in the reduction of inflammation.
3 More Joint-Friendly Foods
Bring on the beans! Chickpeas, soybeans, black beans, lima beans, navy beans, you name it. Lentils too. All are anti-inflammatory and a good source of protein. Pile them onto your salad, mix them into soup, or make a tasty vegetarian side dish.
· Dark Chocolate (at least 70% cocoa)
Chocolate can be part of a healthy diet, especially when you choose dark chocolate. The more cocoa in the chocolate, the better it works to fight inflammation. You can check the percentage on the packaging. Don’t go overboard with dark chocolate, because this sweet treat's sugar and fat content can disrupt an otherwise healthy diet.
· High-Fiber Whole Grains
Skip the white bread and white rice (refined grains) and go for high-fiber whole grains when you are consuming carbs. These higher-fiber grains are healthier as part of an overall diet and have anti-inflammatory properties. Read the ingredients on your cereal boxes, loaves of bread, pasta, and rice before you buy. These days, you can find whole grains in pizza crusts, tortilla wraps, snack crackers, and cookies.
Relief From the Outside In
Healing by way of good nutrition is a natural and effective way to reduce inflammation that affects the joints. You can also try topical remedies to help with pain relief and tissue restoration. Ultimate RepairX (URX) cream is a patented, all-natural topical skin cream made of organic, chemical-free ingredients, including aloe vera. When used as directed, absorption is quick and the cream works fast to relieve joint swelling and stiffness pain due to inflammation. More than masking the pain, URX restores tissue, aiding in healing.