What exactly is joint inflammation?
If you’ve rolled out of bed in the morning only to be lamentably greeted by sore and stiff joints, you may have written it off as just another unwelcome sign that you’re getting older. But you may be suffering from joint inflammation.
“Joint inflammation is a common side effect of several conditions, including psoriatic arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis,” says Dr. Michael Stack, a rheumatologist at Aurora BayCare Medical Center in Green Bay, Wis. “Under normal circumstances, inflammation is our body’s natural response to bodily trauma, like a cut or an infection. But when your immune system malfunctions, it can release inflammatory chemicals that attack joints, causing a lot of pain.”
If you suffer from joint pain, Dr. Stack suggests trying a few tweaks to your diet:
- Eat more fish: The best sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which fight inflammation, are tuna, sardines and salmon.
- Try nuts: Walnuts, pistachios and almonds are full of inflammation-fighting monounsaturated fats.
- Opt for olive oil: Two to three tablespoons per day help to fight painful joint inflammation.
- Garlic is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and helps boost your immune system.
- For temporary relief of joint inflammation pain, consider adding ginger to your diet via fresh, powdered, dried or tea form.
- Don’t forget your fruits and veggies! The best anti-inflammatory produce includes spinach, berries, broccoli, grapes, tart red cherry juice, onions and spinach.
Foods that can exacerbate or cause inflammation:
- Refined grains, like white bread and pastries
- Soda and other sugary beverages
- Red meat and processed meat, like hot dogs and sausages
- Fried foods
“For the time being, the Mediterranean diet is the best, with ample salad, fruit and nuts, limiting meat and pasta and avoiding processed foods,” Dr. Stack says. “Visit your family doctor to check for inflammation with a simple blood test, the CRP (C-reactive protein.) If this is elevated, it can be due to the immune system, infections like Lyme disease or cancer, and then an appropriate plan can be initiated.”
About the Author
Brianna Wunsch, health enews contributor, is a public affairs specialist for Advocate Aurora Health with a BA in public affairs from University of Wisconsin - Green Bay. In her free time, Brianna enjoys living an active lifestyle through biking, hiking and working out at the gym, but even more than that, she especially loves spending quality time with her two cats (Arthur and Loki), son and husband.