Cartilage works like a cushion between the joints and bones during movement. In people who are physically active and in older adults, cartilage can begin to become less cushiony over time and may start to break down. This can lead to pain and friction, especially when it comes to well-used joints such as the knees. This condition is referred to as osteoarthritis. Your physician may recommend major lifestyle changes such as an increased intake of foods for healthy joints and cartilage, and exercise, in order to help you build new cartilage and strengthen the joints.
How to Tackle Inflammation
If you’re searching for a way to improve joint and cartilage health, you should first meet with your doctor in order to determine if a dietary change is enough to boost joint health or if more treatment is required. If you’re over the age of sixty-five and suffering from chronic joint pain and cartilage deterioration, your doctor will prescribe the best walker for seniors until you have made important lifestyle changes that can help to improve joint pain and muscle strength.
Making dietary changes can have a significant impact on joint health, but don’t expect a miracle to happen overnight.
Physicians and researchers alike recommend following an anti-inflammatory diet in order to manage and to help prevent degenerative joint disease. For this diet, you’ll need to increase your consumption of fresh fruits and veggies, lean protein, whole grains, and healthy fats. Studies emphasize the importance of certain foods that have been proven to boost cartilage and joint health such as lemons, celery, watercress, parsley, onions, and garlic.
Since the joints require water in order to remain lubricated you should drink at least eight glasses of water daily. Additionally, this type of diet can also help you lose weight, which will reduce the amount of pressure that’s placed on the joints.
Vitamins D and C
Cartilage is made of collagen. In order to make this protein, the body requires vitamin C.
Make sure you’re getting the recommended daily amount of vitamin C in order to built cartilage in your knees. You can get vitamin C from many veggies and fruits such as oranges, sweet peppers, berries, kiwi, cauliflower, broccoli, and kale. While vitamin C doesn’t build new tissue, vitamin D can help to preserve cartilage. You can get vitamin D from soy milk, eggs, dairy foods, and fatty fish such as salmon. Additionally, foods that are high in vitamin C are often recommended for feet problems in the elderly when joint pain and poor circulation are to blame for ongoing pain.
Broth to Boost Cartilage Production
Proline and glycine are loaded with abundant amino acids in the collagen fibers in tissue. While the body is able to manufacture these types of proteins, a low protein diet can create a deficit which can result in joint problems. Proline and glycine are often found in gelatin, which is a type of food substance that’s derived from the collagen in animals. Incorporating bone broth into your diet via sauces, stews, and soups can help with cartilage production.
Inflammatory Foods to Avoid
There are certain foods that tend to create inflammation in the body, which will increase pain. In addition to adding healthy proteins, fats, and carbs into your diet, we recommend ditching refined carbs including white rice, white flour foods, and sugary beverages and foods. Food that’s high in saturated fats such as full dairy products, can also increase inflammation in the body, as well as trans fats that are often found in commercial baked goods.
Best Foods to Add to Your Diet for Healthier Joints
There are many fruits, veggies, dairy, and protein choices that you can add to your diet in order to improve both cartilage and joint health. However, some foods can boost collagen production or naturally reduce inflammation in the body. Below we’ve included the top foods you should incorporate into your new joint health diet.
- Berries: Berries are packed with nutrients and contain antioxidant compounds that can fight inflammation. They’re also a good source of ellagic acid, which is another type of antioxidant that helps to get rid of inflammation.
- Nuts: Nuts are rich in antioxidants and healthy fats. The antioxidants help repair the damage that’s caused by inflammation and can also help the body fight back. People who eat nuts at least three times a week are fifty percent less likely to die from an inflammatory disease compared to people who don’t eat nuts at all.
- Orange veggies: With a high beta-carotene content, orange veggies are efficient at fighting inflammation. Rich in beta-cryptoxanthin, these veggies ward off the inflammation that’s related to osteoarthritis.
- Oily fish: Fish such as sardines, mackerel, and salmon are high in omega three fatty acids which can help to reduce joint stiffness and pain. This is accomplished by hindering the production of certain enzymes that can affect cartilage health.
Cruciferous and Dark Leafy Green Veggies
Veggies such as Brussels sprouts, kale, broccoli, spinach, and bok choy take the cake as the most powerful inflammation fighting foods to add to your diet. These foods come loaded with antioxidants that will help to slow down the progression of joint-related diseases and can help minimize pain as well. These veggies have a high sulforaphane content. Sulforaphane is a compound that can block the enzyme that’s linked to joint inflammation and deterioration.
Good Sources of Quercetin
Apples contain a type of antioxidant called quercetin, which helps keep arthritis and pain caused by inflammation, at bay. Apples are also high in a strong anti-inflammatory compound called anthocyanin, which is responsible for giving apples their hue.
Onions are also an excellent source of quercetin. Studies have shown that eating a diet high in foods that contained this powerful antioxidant helped to decrease symptoms related to cartilage and joint deterioration. These same studies also showed that quercetin can be effective in the treatment of inflammatory diseases.
The Best Spices to Combat Inflammation
Turmeric is a spice that’s been used in India for thousands of years. Rich in curcumin, which is an inflammation-fighting antioxidant, adding turmeric to your diet can help to ease inflammation and pain associated with joint disease. The curcumin in turmeric works by blocking the effects of enzymes that cause inflammation.
Basil is another herb that has been used in India for years. Basil can treat both joint pain and inflammation. The enzyme in basil that’s responsible for the herb’s sweet scent is called eugenol and it contains strong anti-inflammatory properties that suppress cyclooxygenase activity. Cyclooxygenase is an enzyme that creates lipid mediators that cause inflammation in the body.
Considered one of the strongest anti-inflammatories found in nature, ginger can ease joint pain by blocking a number of enzymes and genes that promote discomfort and inflammation.