Inflammation in the joints can limit mobility and be very painful. When the pain is severe, it can bring strength training or weightlifting to a screeching halt. Sometimes, occasional joint inflammation–such as the kind brought on by an injury–can’t be avoided.
There are however, steps you can take today to speed up the recovery process should you injure yourself and more important, reduce the likelihood that you’ll suffer from other types of joint inflammation and pain.
One thing you can do is start incorporating these ten anti-inflammatory foods into your diet. Let’s take a look.
In the human body, a joint is the point at which two or more bones come together. Us humans have about 230 of them. They have different ranges of mobility (from no mobility, limited movement and full range of movement) and are classified by type such as ball and socket, elbow, gliding, hinge, hip and saddle joints.
Joints can also be classified by structure, function, biomechanical properties and more–it really gets very technical.
Regardless of the type or classification, joints wouldn’t function very well if they were just ‘bone meeting bone,’ because there would be too much friction. Just like a ball bearing sealed with oil, to allow for ease of movement, human joints have either cartilage or synovial fluid–or both–between the bones.
Cartilage is a smooth connective tissue while synovial fluid is a yolk-like viscous fluid that serves as a lubricant. Ligaments connect bone to bone and stabilize the joints.
There are two key points to this anatomy lesson:
1) joints are very complex; and
2) we have a lot of them in our bodies.
For the most part we don’t give any thoughts to our joints unless we’re having problems with them. And when we do have problems with them, it can be not just painful, but downright debilitating. Inflammation is the most commonly-cited problem or difficulty with joints.
Inflammation in joints is swelling that is actually part of the body’s self-protection mechanism as it tries to remove harmful stimuli such as damaged cells or irritants. And when joint inflammation occurs, it inhibits mobility and causes pain.
Sometimes joint inflammation can bring about severe pain that can last for days, weeks or longer, sometimes becoming a chronic condition that lasts a lifetime. In some cases, inflammation in the joints is the result of a sudden event like lifting a weight improperly, tearing a ligament or a similar type injury. Recovery from this type of joint inflammation can take anywhere from just a couple days up to several months, depending on the nature and scope of the injury.
Other times, joint inflammation is not caused by a single event but rather, is a condition that builds up over time, eventually reaching the point where it limits mobility and results in intermittent–or sometimes constant–pain.
Your metabolism plays a central role in determining whether or not you develop joint inflammation that occurs over time and how quickly it recovers from the type that is brought on by a sudden injury. And fortunately, scientists have discoveredthat eating certain foods can boost the body’s ability to fight joint inflammation.
Not surprisingly, these are foods that are rich in vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, proteins, healthy fats or complex carbs–you won’t see any processed foods, artificial ingredients, saturated fats or trans fats on the list below. In fact, many highly processed, refined foods have been shown to actually decrease the body’s ability to fight inflammation. Here is the list:
1. Alaskan Salmon (wild is best)
2. Fresh whole fruits, vegetables
3. Bright multi-colored vegetables
4. Green tea
5. Olive oil
6. Lean poultry
7. Nuts, legumes and seeds
8. Dark green leafy vegetables
9. Old fashioned oatmeal
10. Spices, especially Turmeric and Ginger
It’s no coincidence that these are foods that help the body to build muscle and maintain a healthy weight. Strong muscles help keep joints stable and a healthy weight reduces pressure on joints, helping to minimize–or in some cases prevent–joint inflammation.
Eat these foods and while you might not completely eliminate joint inflammation, you’ll certainly increase your body’s ability to fight joint inflammation and even prevent it from occurring in the first place.
In selecting foods from the list, be sure to choose so you get a well-rounded variety of healthy, wholesome, unprocessed, inflammation-fighting foods in your daily diet. And while I didn’t put it on the list, you should also be sure to drink plenty of water every day. This helps flush toxins from your body and keeps your joints lubricated.