We’ll be honest with you. We like movement.
Not that we haven’t been known to spend the occasional Saturday binging our way through our Netflix queue (both seasons of Bridgerton were consumed within 24 hours and with no regrets). Still, most of the time, there’s nothing so fun as a hike, a swim, a bike ride, or even a really long walk.
But beyond simply liking to move, we’d like to keep moving. For as long as possible. Admittedly, that’s not always something we can control. Conditions will pop up, injuries will occur. Some things you just can’t predict. Of course, that doesn’t mean we can’t give it a fighting try.
There are still things that we can do to help keep ourselves from wearing down. Among these, one major preventative step is to take care of our joints. But how does one do that? A couple of things, as it turns out.
It really helps to stay active and maintain a healthy weight. Additionally, you should always remember to stretch, warm-up, and use the proper gear so as to avoid injury. And, finally, you can eat.
Not any and all foods, mind you. Processed or fried foods that can cause inflammation certainly won’t do you any favors. Maintaining a healthy diet, however, certainly can. And while there’s no tried and true diet that will stop you from getting arthritis (or cure it if you do) certain foods might just be able to help you feel your best.
Here are five foods to help you keep your joints healthy.
If these little red fruits fall on your favorites list, allow us to congratulate you. You now have yet another reason to sneak a few into your day. There is quite a bit of evidence that fresh cherries, as well as tart cherry juice, might help to reduce inflammation (always a good thing for your joints).
The reason for this is the same as why cherries have that signature red color, they contain powerful flavonoids called anthocyanins which can help stop inflammation in our bodies.
Sweetening the deal, cherries are high in vitamin C. This not only has its own anti-inflammatory properties but is also a major player in our bodies’ collagen production.
Collagen is a word that anyone who’s ever used a facemask will probably be familiar with. But while this protein may be enough to give our inner skincare gurus a case of the happy dance, that’s not the only way it can be beneficial. In fact, collagen is a major component in the makeup of our ligaments, tendons, and cartilage, aka the things that protect our joints and keep us moving.
Of course, while we’re certainly fond of cherries, don’t be dismayed if they’re not your cup of tea. They’re far from the only food that could have these effects. Anthocyanins, for instance, can be found in plenty of other dark fruits such as raspberries, blueberries, and pomegranates. Vitamin C can also be found in a variety of fruits and veggies. Including the next entry on this list.
Although we’ve labeled this category as red, any color pepper can give you a hearty dose of vitamin c. Red peppers are just a particularly good source of it. They’re more nutritional than other bell peppers in general because they’re allowed to ripen for longer.
Besides vitamin C, bell peppers are also rich in other nutrients including carotenoids like beta-cryptoxanthin which could help against inflammation.
Taking a step away from red, let’s go green. Leafy greens such as kale (as well as collard greens, bok choy, broccoli, arugula…there’s quite a list) are also a potential step towards good joint health.
These veggies are good for you in general as a result of being loaded with a variety of nutrients, but this makeup could spell good news for your joints in particular. Just to zero in on a few examples, they’re rich in the antioxidants beta-carotene and vitamin C. Some can even provide us with a bit of calcium (strong bones and all that).
Additionally, there’s evidence to show that sulforaphane, an antioxidant compound found in this particular section of the veggie population, can block an enzyme that causes joint pain.
So, yes, we’ll take the salad.
If you happen to be allergic, steer clear of this one. If not, though, and if you’re in the need of a filling snack, feel free to go a little nuts (low-hanging fruit we know, but we could not pass up the opportunity).
Nuts contain Omega-3s which can go a long way toward reducing inflammation. Even better, nuts also contain healthy fats and vitamin B6, the latter of which is not only known to lower inflammation but may also be good for circulation and easing PMS.
Best of all, you have no shortage of choice when it comes to nuts, pistachios, walnuts, and almonds are just the tip of the iceberg. Seeds such as chia and flax also make a great choice.
The last entry on this list will certainly add a bit of spice to your life because…well, that should be self-explanatory. Aromatic roots such as turmeric and ginger are especially known for having anti-inflammatory properties (onions and garlic too, interestingly enough). Even better, they can be used to give a tasty flair to some of your favorite dishes.