Joint pains become more common with old age. Although there is no food that can directly cure joint pains, some foods, according to research, have been shown to alleviate the pain and fight the inflammation. The following are some of them.
Mushrooms are one of the most nutritionally complete foods available. They are naturally a good provider of a whole range of essential nutrients like calcium, potassium, and iodine. Typically all mushrooms are very good source of vitamin D. Vitamin D helps in maintaining skeletal calcium balance by promoting calcium absorption in the intestines, promoting bone resorption, maintaining calcium and phosphate levels for bone formation. Other roles of vitamin D include the modulation of cell growth, improving neuromuscular and immune function, and the reduction of inflammation. Recent studies also revealed that vitamin D may indirectly help improve symptoms of joint pains. In a study published in the journal Therapeutic Advances in Endocrinology and Metabolism, it appeared that vitamin D deficiency is highly prevalent in patients with joint paints like arthritis, and that vitamin D deficiency may be linked to disease severity in the disease. This discovery is highly associated with vitamin D’s function of modulating genes encoding proteins that regulate cell proliferation, and cell death.
Aside from its impressive flavor, ginger is well-known for its amazing health benefits. In Asia alone, ginger has already been established as a superstar in traditional medicine. Ginger is known to reduce muscle pain after an extraneous activity. Because of its phytonutrients called gingerols, ginger is geared for its anti-cancer potential. Another well-documented benefit of ginger is it that it improves gastrointestinal disease, cardiovascular disorders, and diabetes. It can also treat various diseases via immunutrition and anti-inflammatory responses.
Recently, it was discovered that ginger also has an effect in the alleviation of joint pains. In the Journal of Medicinal Food, Grzanna et al. (2005) published the first evidence the ability of ginger to modulate biochemical pathways involved in the activation of chronic inflammation. Their discovery then paved the way for another study that dealt with the comparison of ginger activity to that of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). As expected, ginger has a better therapeutic profile and has fewer side effects. Furthermore, it was also found out that some compounds found in ginger inhibit some genes that contribute to inflammation, especially in the joints.
Members of the family Brassicaceae, like broccoli in particular, are known to contain the substance sulfophrane. Sulfophrane is known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. In a recent study led by the University of East Anglia, that substance can somehow “lubricate” creaky joints, and slow down the progression of joint pains. Sulfophrane can block enzymes that cause the destruction of cartilage in joints, eventually stopping the onset of inflammation. They found out that subjects with diet rich in sulfophrane had significantly less damage in their cartilages as compared to those who didn’t. “This is an interesting study with promising results since it suggests that broccoli has health benefits for people with joint problems. Moreover, it can even protect people from acquiring the disease in the first place“, Professor Alan Silman says.
Pineapples are known to contain a substance called bromelain. This substance demonstrates various properties like anti-inflammatory and analgesic. Aside from that it is also a natural coagulant and also prevents heartburn. In addition to these health benefits, Brien and his colleagues published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine their study about the effects of bromelain in the treatment of joint paints, osteoarthritis in particular. Other evidences of its anti-inflammatory properties were shown in the study of Hale (1992). Check out a smoothie recipe using pineapple here.
Beans are known for their anti-inflammatory properties which help alleviate tearing pains in the joints. The nutrients in beans were also found to lower the uric acid in the blood therefore reducing uric acid crystal deposits in the joints. “Beans and other legumes are good sources of proteins which provide the essential building blocks for cartilage and muscles, which are known to be linked to joints. Thus, eating good sources of protein aids in the building and repairing of these tissues“, says Amanda Carlson-Phillips, the vice president of nutrition and research at EXOS. Compounds found in beans reduce pain in stiffness hence improving joint function in knees and hips. Studies also reveal that these substances, as compared to NSAIDS are more effective and have fewer side effects.