Ask any arthritis patient: the food you eat can have a profound effect on your health, comfort, and happiness. Growing evidence suggests that fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods can go a long way toward reducing inflammation and relieving joint pain.
To help you eat better this summer, here are four delicious and nutritious snacks that can ease sore joints and help you enjoy the season to its fullest.
1. Fruits containing vitamin C
Did you know vitamin C can slow down the progress of osteoarthritis, easing joint pain in the knees? Luckily, you can get vitamin C from plenty of tasty fruits bursting in refreshing juices. These include watermelon, oranges, cantaloupe, pineapple, kiwi, grapefruit, mango, and papaya.
Fruit makes a great summer snack on its own, or you can throw a variety into a fruit salad for a heaping dose of vitamin C. You can also try juicing them or blending with ice for smoothies. If you find yourself craving ice cream to combat the heat, why not freeze milk-free fruit smoothies in small cups with popsicle sticks for a cool treat instead? It’s healthier, better for your joints, and doesn’t contain dairy (thought to contribute to arthritis pain).
2. Berries and tart cherries
Berries make fun summer snacks, great for nibbling whenever you’re hungry. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and cranberries contain many essential nutrients, including vitamin C.
Tart cherries are especially good for arthritis patients as they contain anthocyanin, an ingredient that helps ease joint pain. Since they’re highly perishable, you probably won’t find tart cherries at the local grocery store, but they might be available from farmers’ markets in your area. If you can’t get them fresh, you can buy cherry juice concentrate with no added sugar, or find them dried, canned, and frozen. Try adding dried cherries to your cereal or oatmeal in the morning for a little boost, or take a handful with you on the go.
3. Colorful vegetables
Many vegetables also have high levels of vitamin C. Brighten up your summer by eating a rainbow of different veggies and getting the full benefit of their various joint-friendly nutrients—including vitamin C and E, sulforaphane, and beta carotene.
Some people find it boring to add more vegetables to their diet, but there are so many ways to make it exciting. Combine brightly colored peppers, onions, and mushrooms on a skewer for a wholesome veggie kebab. Toss some broccoli, cabbage, and kale into a salad for more flavor. Add brussels sprouts to a stir fry for a little crunch. Your efforts will pay off in the form of reduced inflammation, less pain, and more energy throughout the day.
A handful of unsalted nuts makes a great snack whether you’re out and about or just sitting in the sun with your feet up. Walnuts, pine nuts, pistachios, and almonds can all help with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis; they’re full of nutrients like vitamin E, protein, calcium, fiber, magnesium, and zinc. For an added nutrient bonus, mix in some dried cherries for a healthy trail mix.
Long-term relief from joint pain
If joint pain is affecting you this summer, we can help. The Spine & Joint Center offers a number of alternative treatment options that are safe, minimally invasive, and have helped many patients experience long-term relief from pain. Contact us to find out more or to schedule an appointment.