Arthritis does not kill but causes much pain, distress, and disability. It is among the leading causes of disability worldwide. One in four adults is living with doctor-diagnosed arthritis. However, the actual number of people living with joint pain is much higher1.
However, that is not all. Experts suggest that cases of arthritis will continue to rise as people live longer. Arthritis is more common among older adults. Thus, the majority of those above the age of 60 years have arthritis.
Though there are hundreds of causes of arthritis, the majority of cases of arthritis are caused by one reason, which is osteoarthritis. It is arthritis caused by aging and joint wear and tear. It progresses slowly over time, affecting large weight-bearing joints like the knee and hip.
Degenerative processes, intrinsic weaknesses, and nutritional deficiencies increase the risk of the disease. However, it also means that those living with arthritis can benefit from nutritional therapy – through the use of health supplements.
Foods for Better Joint Health
Many nutrients and foods are good for joint health. Here we discuss some of the foods well known to promote healthy joints. There is strong scientific evidence that increasing your intake of these foods makes you less likely to have arthritis. These foods can also help manage arthritis and prevent its progress.
Fatty fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Though there are many sources of omega-3 fatty acids, fatty fish is among the best sources. Two of the fatty acids found in fatty fish, EPA and DHA, appear to be especially good for modulating inflammation. Thus, omega-3 fatty acids are not just nutrients; they have a therapeutic effect. They are not only good for osteoarthritis but also for autoimmune conditions like rheumatic arthritis2.
There are many reasons to take lots of leafy greens when living with joint pain. They are rich in dietary fiber, help reduce inflammation, but more importantly, they are a good source of micronutrients. Leafy greens contain vitamins like vitamin C and many minerals.
Another important reason to consider leafy greens is that they are rich in vitamin K. New studies show that vitamin K is highly important for bone and joint health. It is especially beneficial when used along with vitamin D and calcium supplements. Studies show that it is also suitable for preventing and managing osteoarthritis3.
This golden spice has particularly become popular these days for managing joint pain. Some studies suggest it is as good as chemical drugs for reducing joint pain and inflammation. It appears that most of its benefits are due to its content of yellow-colored pigment called curcumin. Curcumin is a potent antioxidant and immune-modifying agent. It also has numerous other health benefits4.
Ginger is one of the most commonly used condiments, loved for its pungent taste. However, it also has many health benefits. It is good for reducing stress, helps normalize blood pressure, promotes digestive health, and helps manage nausea.
Now, new studies show that it is also good for joint health. Studies suggest that gingerols have potent anti-inflammatory properties. Thus, they are good for managing joint pains of various origins. The good thing about ginger is that it is equally suitable for osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Some of its benefits are due to its influence on metabolic health5.
Berries are among the neglected dietary components. For thousands of years, humans were hunters and gatherers. Berries were a considerable part of the human diet. The human body appears to depend on berries for certain bioactive compounds. These bright-colored foods are especially rich in polyphenols, which are potent antioxidants. Additionally, berries are rich in vitamin C. Overall, high consumption of berries is associated with lower inflammation and better metabolic health.
The Bottom Line
To boost joint health, it is vital to make specific lifestyle changes. Increasing the intake of certain micronutrients, antioxidants, and bioactive compounds is also essential. Additionally, it is worth understanding that lowering body weight and staying physically active may also help. Thus, if you are experiencing joint pain, take early measures, and let food thy medicine. Additionally, consider food supplements rich in nutrients beneficial for joint health.
- National Statistics | CDC. Published June 22, 2023. Accessed August 3, 2023. https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/data_statistics/national-statistics.html
- Kostoglou-Athanassiou I, Athanassiou L, Athanassiou P. The Effect of Omega-3 Fatty Acids on Rheumatoid Arthritis. Mediterr J Rheumatol. 2020;31(2):190-194. doi:10.31138/mjr.31.2.190
- Chin KY. The Relationship between Vitamin K and Osteoarthritis: A Review of Current Evidence. Nutrients. 2020;12(5):1208. doi:10.3390/nu12051208
- Daily JW, Yang M, Park S. Efficacy of Turmeric Extracts and Curcumin for Alleviating the Symptoms of Joint Arthritis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials. J Med Food. 2016;19(8):717-729. doi:10.1089/jmf.2016.3705
- Funk JL, Frye JB, Oyarzo JN, Chen J, Zhang H, Timmermann BN. Anti-inflammatory effects of the essential oils of ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) in experimental rheumatoid arthritis. PharmaNutrition. 2016;4(3):123-131. doi:10.1016/j.phanu.2016.02.004