Anti-Inflammatory Foods Good for Your Joints

Anti-Inflammatory Foods Good for Your Joints

Inflammation is a normal response within the body, and it is actually a good thing. Small injuries, such as a scrape, causes your body to release white blood cells to heal the damage. This leads to inflammation. While inflammation is an important function of the human immune system, it can also be the cause of joint pain. A poor diet can exacerbate this pain, so here are some foods to help reduce unnecessary inflammation.

List of Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Too much inflammation, which can be caused by a poor diet high in sugar and processed foods, can put undue stress on the body, such as swollen joints. A diet that focuses on whole foods in their natural state that are rich in vitamins and nutrients is key to fighting inflammation. If you suffer from arthritis, try incorporating more of the following foods to reduce inflammation.

1. Fish

  • How Much?
    • 3-4 ounces of fish, twice per week is recommended per the American Heart Association and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 
  • Why?
    • Fish is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which help fight inflammation and may reduce joint swelling and pain. 
  • Best Sources:
    • Salmon, tuna, sardines, herring, anchovies, scallops and other cold-water fish are the best sources for omega-3 fatty acids. 

2. Fruits and Veggies

  • How Much?
    • The recommended daily intake of fruits and veggies is at least 9 servings combined. One serving of fruits and raw veggies is about 1 cup and a serving of cooked veggies is about 1/2 cup.
  • Why?
    • Brightly colored fruits and veggies are packed with antioxidants that fight off free radicals (molecules that can damage our cells). They also contain a wide variety of vitamins, minerals and lots of fiber. 
    • Certain antioxidants called anthocyanins, found in cherries, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries are particularly good at fighting inflammation in the body. 
    • Fruits high in vitamin C, such as oranges, grapefruits and limes, help maintain healthy joints and prevent arthritic inflammation. 
    • Veggies rich in vitamin K, like broccoli, spinach, lettuce and kale, help lower inflammatory markers found in the blood. 
  • Best Sources:
    • Colorful fruits and veggies are recommended – and lots of them!

3. Beans

  • How Much?
    • At least 2 cups per week is the recommended intake of beans. 
  • Why?
    • Due to the fiber, antioxidants and nutrients they contain, beans can help lower C-Reactive Protein, an indicator of inflammation that is found in the blood. 
  • Best Sources:
    • According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the best bean sources are small red beans, red kidney beans, and pinto beans. 

4. Nuts 

  • How Much?
    • 1.5 oz. of nuts  is the recommended daily intake of nuts. 1 oz. is about one handful.
  • Why?
    • Nuts are higher in monounsaturated fats, which help fight inflammation. They also promote weight loss due to the protein, fiber, and healthy fats they contain. 
  • Best Sources:
    • Walnuts, pine nuts, pistachios, and almonds are the best choices within the nut category. 

5. Olive Oil

  • How Much?
    • 2-3 Tablespoons is the recommended daily intake of olive oil. 
  • Why?
    • Olive oil is a great source of heart-healthy fats. It also contains a compound that may help naturally reduce pain sensitivity. 
  • Best Sources:
    • Extra virgin olive oil is the best choice as it goes through less processing and refining than other oils.

6. Whole Grains

  • How Much?
    • According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, you should consume a total of 6 oz. of grains per day, with at least 3 oz. coming from whole grain sources. One ounce of grains is 1/2 cup cooked brown rice of 1 slice of whole-wheat bread. 
  • Why?
    • Whole grains contain a high amount of fiber, which can help with maintenance of a healthy weight. Fiber may also help lower blood levels of C-Reactive Protein, an inflammatory marker found in the blood. 
  • Best Sources:
    • Whole-grain foods, oatmeal, brown rice, and quinoa are the best of the grain options.

Inflammation is a major culprit of joint pain. Removing highly-processed and sugary foods from your diet can help improve your symptoms.

For more advice on how to incorporate these foods into your diet, or if you’re looking to eat healthier in general, I’d encourage you to take advantage of your FREE nutrition consultation that’s included with every membership!

Schedule a Nutrition Consultation

Sarah Brunner Registered Dietician at Elite Sports Clubs

Written by Sarah Brunner, RDN, CD; Elite Sports Clubs Registered Dietitian

Sarah is certified in food allergies/intolerances and nutritional counseling, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; has a certificate in Dietetics from Mount Mary University; and a BA in Education and Mathematics from the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *