As we get older, joint pain becomes more prominent. Whether it’s in your hands, back, knees or ankles, joint pain is more than a minor discomfort — it’s debilitating for people all over the world.
Regular exercise, stretching, weight loss and even acupuncture have proven to be successful treatments for some joint pain sufferers, but changing your eating habits and maintaining a healthy diet can also help reduce swelling and inflammation in your joints and help you live a more comfortable life.
Unfortunately, the human body doesn’t naturally produce omega-3 fatty acids, so we have to absorb them through the food we eat or the supplements we take. If you’re not already eating fatty fish at least once a week, it’s time to mix up your diet or add a dietary supplement to make sure you’re providing your body with the omega-3s it needs to help stave off joint pain.
Fresh blueberries, blackberries, cherries, strawberries and plums are high in antioxidants, which are compounds that protect your cells from potentially harmful oxidants. Antioxidants from fresh fruits help reduce inflammation in your joints, easing joint pain.
When it comes to antioxidants, however, it’s important to be aware that more isn’t necessarily better. In fact, if you’re taking antioxidant supplements, you can overdo it and cause other health problems. For most people, just eating fresh fruits regularly gives their bodies enough antioxidants to ease discomfort in their joints.
Love spicy food? It can help with your joint pain! Hot peppers — serrano, habanero, cayenne and others — get their heat from a compound called capsaicin. As you eat spicy food and get that familiar burning sensation, your brain starts releasing natural pain-reducing chemicals called endorphins that relieve the pain in your joints.
Small changes in your diet can have a huge effect on your body’s response to inflammation in your joints. Make healthy food choices, exercise and limit how much processed food and sugar you’re eating every day to keep your joint pain under control.