Joint Pains – Causes, Cure and Prevent by Food

Sep 15, 2019

What is common between our shoulders, hips, ankles, elbows, and knees? These are the parts of our body where bones meet, hence, they are known as joints. Soreness, ache or pain in any of these joints is referred to as joint pain. Usually, joint pains occur due to injury, fracture, aging or illness. While there are many medications and surgeries which can help cure severe cases, joint pains can largely be avoided by maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

What are joint pains?

The term is derived from the Greek word arthralgia, literally meaning - joint pain. In our daily life, we engage in multiple activities which may cause regular or abrupt movement of our joints that sometimes result in aches, soreness or pain. Some of the most commonly occurring joint pains are-

  1. Arthritis – Arthritis is the severe inflammation of joints. There are over 100 different types of arthritis known to us. According to the World Health Organization, 50% of patients are unable to do full-time jobs within 10 years of suffering from arthritis.
  2. Osteoarthritis - Osteoarthritis is another common form of joint pain which affects hands, spine, hips, knees, and ankles. It is a chronic and progressive condition which may require hip and knee replacement surgery.
  3. Gout - A problem in the metabolism of the uric acid is referred to as gout. Excessive uric acid can lead to the formation of solid uric acids in the joints causing severe pain and swelling.

Other forms of joint pains are rheumatoid arthritis (RA), post-traumatic arthritis, migratory arthritis, aching joints, joint tenderness, joint swelling, stiff joints, bursitis, Charcot joint, temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), joint redness, inflammatory joint effusion, non-inflammatory joint effusion, hemorrhagic joint effusion, ankle pain and tendinitis, avascular necrosis (AVN), bunions, Paget’s disease.

Cause of joint pains

An illness or an injury can affect ligaments, cartilage or bones within the joints. An ache, inflammation or infection can also lead to joint pains. Symptoms of joint pains include redness, swelling, tenderness, limping, stiffness, weakness or, in some cases, restriction of movements.

Can certain foods prevent and cure joint pains?

Research has shown that traditional foods, herbs, and spices can help in reducing, relieving and curing joint pains. A healthy diet comprising of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds can help maintain healthy muscles and joints.

Top food groups which can help reduce joint pains

  1. Fish - Fish rich in Omega 3 fatty acids like tuna, herring, mackerel, trout, and salmon have anti-inflammatory properties which can help those suffering from joint pains. These are also excellent sources of vitamin D, a deficiency of which may cause arthritis.
  2. Vegetables:
    1. Broccoli - Sulforaphane in broccolis block the formation of cells which cause rheumatoid arthritis. It also helps reduce inflammation in joints.
    2. Garlic - Garlic is full of anti-inflammatory benefits. A diet containing garlic can help reduce the chances of suffering from joint pains.
    3. Spinach - Leafy green spinach is another rich source of antioxidants and contains plenty of plant compounds which help reduce inflammation.
  3. Spices:
    1. Ginger - Consuming a diet that includes ginger can help reduce inflammation and knee-related pains.
    2. Turmeric - Curcumin found in turmeric has anti-inflammation properties. Adding this spice to your diet can also help reduce the chances of cancer.
  4. Fruits
    1. Berries - Quercetin and rutin compounds found in berries are beneficial for our joints. Berries also contain antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that help to reduce inflammation.
    2. Grapes - Grapes contain proanthocyanidin, a plant compound beneficial for those suffering from chronic joint pains. They also help reduce anti-inflammatory markers present in the blood.
    3. Vitamin C rich fruits - Eating plenty of vitamin C rich fruits like, kiwi, orange, grapefruit, etc. can help relieve knee pain.
  5. Olive Oil - Although more research is required to ascertain the benefits of olive oil, consuming it like your diet may have health benefits that may lead to relief in case of joint pain.
  6. Walnuts - Walnuts are a vegan source of Omega 3 fatty acids and are full of inflammation-reducing compounds and can alleviate arthritis symptoms.

While selecting which diet to follow, it is essential to know that a diet which works for one may not work for another as each individual is different. It is equally important to avoid certain food groups in case you are suffering from joint pains as they can aggravate your existing condition.

Foods to avoid joint pains:

  • Fried and processed food items - reducing the amount of processed and fried foods can help reduce illnesses caused by inflammation and help restore the body’s immunity.
  • Sugars and refined carbs - High amount of sugars and refined carbs can produce advanced glycation end product (AEGs). AEGs can cause inflammation and aggravate joint problems.
  • Dairy products - Certain proteins in dairy products can contribute to joint aches and pains as these proteins can irritate the tissue present around our joints.
  • Alcohol and tobacco - Studies have shown that consumption of alcohol and tobacco can cause a number of health problems. Smoking increases the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis while drinking alcohol can increase your chances of developing gout.
  • Salt and preservatives - Salt and preservatives help increase the shelf-life of many food items. However, excess consumption of salt can cause inflammation of joints in some individuals.
  • Corn oil - Corn oil is a rich source of Omega 6 fatty acids which can trigger inflammation. It is ideal to replace it with olive oil.

It is important to be aware of the nature of your joint illness so that you can receive timely treatment. Treatment will depend upon factors like age, intensity, and stage of the joint pain. It is recommended that you consult a doctor if severe joint pain persists.

Our modern lifestyle leaves little scope for freshly sourced food. However, it is also important to assess what we eat, how much we consume and what can help maintain an overall healthy body to ensure less strain on our joints.

A life of healthy choices can become a life seeped in good health; devoid of aches or pain.

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