Eat to live! Don't Live to Eat

Joint Pain and Dietary Guidelines – Eating Shouldn’t Hurt

Joint pain affects all of us at one time or another; it even strikes kids from time-to-time. As we get older, joint pain is more typical in our daily lives, but through diet and other changes you can reduce joint pain.

Joint pain has many different causes including poor diet, low/no exercise, injury, age, wear and tear.

If you regularly eat foods like white bread, wheat bread and other refined carbohydrates, or if you eat a lot of whole grain breads and pasta, you can count on having joint pain. If you eat fried foods, French fries, donuts, chicken fingers, potato chips, many items in the Chinese food menus, red meat, processed meats and other processed foods, sugary foods such as soda, sweetened juices, candy, pastries, corn syrups, margarine and shortening, you can expect to have inflammation caused joint pain.

If you suffer from daily joint pain and stiffness, give a diet change a try. Changing your diet to better food choices can help ease joint pain without having to depend on medications that make your body toxic and sluggish. The bonus to changing your diet not only improves your joint health, you’ll likely drop a few pounds, improve your blood pressure and clear out your intestinal track, leaving you feeling lighter and more energetic.

Changing your diet will take commitment but you can easily shift into better choices when you know what foods to eat and what foods to avoid. A simple list follows so that you can start making changes today.

Avoid – Inflammatory Foods

Fried foods including chips and other items from the snack aisle, simple carbs (as listed above), processed corn, sugary drinks and snacks, artificial sweeteners, red meat (at least cut down on it), processed meats and other processed foods, artificial butters, salt, alcohol, omega 6 oils (corn oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil and vegetable oil) shortening and lard – use real butter, but practice portion control and try using lemon juice and spices in place of butter.

Eat – Anti-inflammatory Foods

  • Vegetables – All types of vegetables, all colors – raw, steamed, boiled or roasted – broccoli, parsley (phosphuraphane, K & C and calcium)
  • Nut oils- walnut (10x the omega 3’s than EVOO), avocado, almond, peanut, sesame oils and butters
  • Whole grains – barley, farro, quinoa, brown rice, oatmeal (if you find that you feel bloated after eating any of these, avoid them, also avoid barley & seitan if you are gluten intolerant)
  • Fruit – citrus, pineapple, berries, melons, cherries (vitamin C)
  • Garlic, onions, leeks
  • Milk, yogurt & cheese (vitamin D & calcium)
  • Nuts/Seeds – peanuts, walnuts, pistachios, cashews, almonds, chia, flax seed (1 oz./day = magnesium, omega 3’s, zinc, iron, potassium & blood sugar control)
  • Beans – all kinds without sugar added, soy beans, edamame, tofu (magnesium, iron, calcium, fiber)
  • Mushrooms – (copper helps produce red blood cells and has potassium for heart, muscles and nerve)
  • Molasses – 1 tablespoon (magnesium which helps relieve inflammation)
  • Fish – 3-4 times/week (omega 3’s) Omega 3 supplements (less absorption into the body than fish)
  • Spices – ginger, turmeric, juniper berries, cinnamon, cayenne, chili, pepper (all anti-inflammatory)
  • Tea – dandelion root tea, green tea, black tea (anti-oxidants, polyphenols, EGCG)

Next time you’re at the grocery store or farm stand, choose some of the healthy foods listed and start making change for your body soon. You deserve to eat well and feel good!

Again, changing your diet isn’t always easy but when you practice making healthier choices and begin feeling the benefits change becomes easier. If you’re not fully convinced that diet plays a big role in joint pain, test it out for a month. Make the suggested subtractions and additions to your diet for the next month and make notes about how you feel each day or week. At the very least, it can help ease some pain, reduce a few pounds and help clear out your digestive track from gunk that builds up from the foods on the foods to avoid list.

Let me know your thoughts or get in touch if you would like guidance and accountability in making healthy changes.

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