When it comes to nutrition for joint health it is all about nouishing the body.

When we eat, we have the opportunity to provide the body with nutrients necessary to function, decrease inflammation, heal, build strong bones and rebuild cells and tissue.

There is no “diet” cure for ailments such as arthritis; however, certain foods have been shown to fight the painful joint inflammation the boost the immune system during flare-ups.

Adding these foods to your daily diet may ease the symptoms and result in a better quality of life. Five nutrition principles for joint health are:

Eat omega 3 fatty acids every day: Omega- 3 fatty acids are “inflammation fighters.” The recommendation is to consume at least 3 to 4 ounces of fish twice a week.

Omega-3 fatty acids are abundant in salmon, tuna, mackerel and herring; in addition these fatty acids are in found in walnuts, flax seeds and fish oil supplements.

Focus on Fiber: Choose whole grains that have at least 3 grams of fiber per serving. Most people should be consuming 25-35 grams of fiber per day.

Whole grains can lower levels of CRP, or C-reactive protein in the blood. This is an inflammation marker associated with heart disease, diabetes and arthritis. Oatmeal, brown rice and whole-grain bread are great sources of whole grain and fiber. Don’t forget to drink water when increasing your fiber intake!

Eat the Rainbow: Fruits and vegetables are naturally high in fiber, vitamins and minerals that are essential for joint health. The different colors represent the array of nutrients found in these foods.

Citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruit and limes are rich in Vitamin C. Vitamin C assists in preventing inflammation and maintains healthy joints.

Protein, Protein, Protein: Protein provides the essential building blocks for muscle and cartilage and helps to build and repair tissue, which is crucial for joint health.

Ideal sources of lean protein include beans, skinless poultry, dairy products, seafood and nuts.

Incorporate “Superfoods” for Joint Health: Superfoods are nutritional powerhouses that pack large doses of antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins and minerals, to name a few nutrients.

The following list of superfoods provided can optimize joint health: salmon, bananas, sweet peppers, shrimp, soy, cheese, sweet potatoes, walnuts, kale, green tea, lentils and canola oil.

Carey Stites is a certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor and a Registered Dietitian with a master’s degree in nutrition. Carey is currently the Registered Dietitian working with Wellstone in Harker Heights. Contact her at carey.stites@smchh.org.

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