There is a lot you can do to protect your joints: exercise regularly, wear supportive shoes, and schedule regular check ups with your health care provider. But did you know that the foods you eat could have an effect on your joint health? The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases recommends that adults and children eat a balanced diet that allows them to maintain a healthy weight in order to protect their joints. Here are a few tips for healthy eating with a focus on keeping your joints happy.

Fill Up on Fish

Omega-3, which is found in oily fish, may help improve symptoms in people who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. This condition causes inflammation in the joints, leading to pain and difficulty using your hands or moving around. The Arthritis Foundation recommends eating fatty fish at least twice a week to combat inflammation.

If you’re concerned about the mercury levels that are found in eating oily fish, or if you’re vegetarian or vegan, consider taking flaxseed oil as an alternative source of omega-3. Supplements are also a good option in increasing your omega-3 intake.

Eat a Rainbow of Fruits and Vegetables

Many fruits and vegetables also have anti-inflammatory properties. According to the Arthritis Foundation, cherries are a great choice. In fact, berries of all colors are healthy choices for people who are concerned about their joint health. In addition to these fruits, eating plenty of green vegetables (either fresh or frozen) such as broccoli and kale can help keep you and your joints healthy.

Avoid Sugars and Saturated Fats

Some foods aren’t very good for the health of your joints—or the rest of your body. Foods that are high in added sugar and saturated fats, such as cookies and cakes, could increase inflammation. They’re also likely to make you gain weight, and the more weight you carry, the more stress is put on your joints when you walk or run. Save these foods for occasional treats rather than consuming them every day. If you enjoy your sweet treats, consider using sugar alternatives such as Stevia.

Eat Well to Protect Your Joints

A healthy, balanced diet is essential in protecting every part of your body, including your joints. Eating a diet that is low in inflammation triggers and high in anti-inflammatory omega-3 may help to relieve arthritis-related joint pain. Combine your healthy diet with a suitable exercise routine and you’re on your way to healthy joints.

Sources:

http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Kids/healthy_joints.asp#tabTwo

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16048032

http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/arthritis-diet/healthy-eating/smart-grocery-shopping.php