Struggling with knee problems can be frustrating, difficult, and downright painful. However, there are a number of things that a person can do to help improve their knee health by changing their diet. While this will not resolve everyone’s knee issues, it can help to ease the pain many experience, and lead to a happier, healthier, and more productive life.
One of the most important things about knee health is to try and reduce the amount of excess weight a person carries on their body. This extra weight causes more stress on the knee joint. By simply reducing the calories and controlling portion sizes, a person is able to help to reduce the weight their knees have to carry. There are a number of ways to do this without going to extremes. For instance, substituting water for a sugary drink daily is a great way to reduce calories. Or opt for a piece of fruit when craving something sweet instead of reaching for a cookie or candy bar. Even small changes can add up over time and help to reduce the stress on your knees.
Increase Fiber Intake
Increasing fiber intake can help the body to reduce calories consumed, and can also help you to feel fuller for longer. The most common sources of fiber are plant-based foods, like fruits and vegetables. Other sources of fiber include whole grains. However, by opting for more fruit and vegetables, you are eating more antioxidants, which results in a reduction of the inflammation in the body’s joints. When inflammation is reduced naturally, there is less of a need for medication and an increase in the person’s ability to move free from pain. More movement also means a reduction in weight, and a healthier life.
Omega-3 is a natural anti-inflammatory. As a result, it helps the body to rid itself of inflammation. This makes joint pain in the knees less, and makes it easier to get up and move about your day. One of the most common ways to get more Omega-3 in your diet is to eat fatty fish. By simply eating two meals of fatty fish a week, the body is able to get enough Omega-3 to help naturally reduce the amount of inflammation in joints. Some excellent sources of Omega-3 include tuna, trout, and salmon.
Oleocanthal is a natural compound found in olive oil. Like Omega-3, it helps to reduce inflammation in the body similar to many medication anti-inflammatories do. However, many people opt to reach for olive oil that has been filtered and processed. When this happens, the oleocanthal compound can be removed from the oil. Instead, look for an olive oil that has a more dominant natural flavor instead of one with a lighter flavor. These usually contain more of the oleocanthal compound in them. Substituting olive oil for other fats, like butter and margarine is a great alternative, and way to get the healing properties in your diet without adding additional calories.
Get Enough Vitamin C
Vitamin C is often thought of as being beneficial for helping a person fight off an illness. However, vitamin C is also helpful in building connective tissue and collagen in the body. This is important for proper joint health. Vitamin C is found naturally in a lot of different fruits and vegetable, not just oranges and other citrus fruits. By eating a handful of strawberries, some bell peppers, or broccoli with your meal a few times a day, you will be able to eat the recommended dose each day.
Lower the Cooking Temperature
Often times, meat is cooked at a higher temperature to sear it. But, this causes advanced glycation end products (AGEs) to form in the meat. These compounds have been connected to other problems in the body like diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis. For those who are concerned about knee health, avoiding AGEs can be important in the prevention of inflammation and being able to move freely and without pain. Instead, opt for lower temperatures and cooking for a longer period of time.
Avoid Processed Foods
Whenever possible, it is important to opt for fresh foods or those which have the minimum amount of processing possible. This is because processed foods often have additives in them, but also because they are often cooked at a higher temperature, which results in AGEs forming in the food. The more processed a food is, the more AGEs present, and the more inflammation a person will experience in their joints. One general rule of thumb to reduce the amount of processed foods consumed is to shop only the perimeter of the grocery store and avoid the center or middle aisles.