Can My Diet Improve My Joint Health?

diet improve joint health
Dr. Lindsey Mcilvena, MD

In her day job, treating patients living with chronic disease, nutrition and lifestyle are not after-thoughts, they’re central to helping her patients get well. She’s also our go-to expert on plant-based diets.

You, a friend or family member may be suffering from joint problems such as arthritis. Wondering if there are things you can do to improve your joint health?

First, you need to know some basics.

Our joints are made up of ligaments, tendons, fluid-filled pouches called bursae, bones, and muscles. Keeping your joints doing what they do best—all that lifting, twisting, flexing, and extending—is easy when you follow these two tips.

First, stay hydrated. Remember when I mentioned the bursae up above? These little pouches act like shock absorbers; they keep our joints from grinding against each other, in the same way that a rubber tire keeps your bike rim from scraping against the ground. Lose the bounciness in that bursa, and you’ve got problems. Not only will staying hydrated help this buffer pouch out, but it will keep your muscles, ligaments, and tendons performing well.

Shoot for about 90 ounces of fluids per day, unless you have kidney problems or heart problems—in that case talk to your doctor about how best to stay hydrated.

The second tip involves consuming anti-inflammatory foods. We talk a lot about inflammation on our site, so you may not be surprised to hear that eating anti-inflammatory foods will help keep your joints healthy. Though there are many kinds of arthritis such as osteoarthritis, gout, and rheumatoid arthritis, they all have one thing in common—inflammation. So go buck wild on leafy greens, ginger, berries, turmeric, and green tea; your joints will thank you.

The great thing about a hydrating, anti-inflammatory diet is that it not only keeps your joints healthy, but also your entire body—your heart, your eyes, digestive track, and skin.

Sources: Mayo Clinic, National Institutes of Health, Hindawi, Oxford Journals

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