Do you suffer from knee pain? Do your knees pop and click every time you go up or down the stairs? Do you avoid stairs altogether? Knee pain can really limit your ability and desire to do the things you enjoy.
Before you consider a drastic treatment option like surgery, consider this: the food that you eat can affect your knee pain. There are certain foods that create inflammation in your body, while other foods reduce inflammation.
Inflammation in the body causes pain, so improving your pain can be as simple as changing your diet. Read on to learn more.
How Does Food Affect Knee Pain?
Inflammation in the body creates free radicals. Free radicals are molecules that cause cell damage. Our bodies create free radicals in response to toxins as well as through natural processes.
Free radicals can damage any tissue in the body, the eyes, skin, and even the synovium, which provides cushion in the knee joints. Consuming inflammatory foods creates free radicals which can damage the knee joint.
On the other hand, some foods contain antioxidants. Antioxidants actually protect the body from free radicals.
Many people who experience knee pain have pain as a result of arthritis. Consuming antioxidants can prevent arthritis, slow its progression, and relieve pain.
Best Foods for Knee Pain
Vitamin C strengthens the cartilage, which provides important support to the knees. Citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruit are excellent sources of Vitamin C. You can also get a boost of Vitamin C from tropical fruits like guava, papaya, and pineapple. Vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, tomatoes, and bell peppers are good sources of Vitamin C, as well.
Vitamin D helps to prevent cartilage from breaking down and prevents narrowing of the joint space. Seafood and eggs are good sources of Vitamin D. Some other foods are fortified with Vitamin D, including milk, orange juice, yogurt, and cereals.
Beta carotene is an antioxidant that helps to eliminate free radicals from the body, preventing joint damage. Beta carotene gives foods their distinctive orange color, like you see in carrots, sweet potatoes, apricots, and cantaloupe. It can also be found in Brussels sprouts, collard greens, asparagus, and tomatoes.
Omega-3 fatty acids suppress the body’s production of cytokines and other enzymes that break down cartilage. Increasing your intake of omega-3 fatty acids will reduce the inflammation in your body. Seafood is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. In particular, salmon, trout, oysters, and sardines are rich in omega-3s. Non-seafood sources of omega-3s include walnuts and flaxseed.
Bioflavonoids are another type of antioxidants. Their ability to reduce inflammation in the body is comparable to that of NSAIDS like ibuprofen and aspirin. In the veggie family, look for bioflavonoids in onions, kale, leeks, and broccoli. Fruit sources of bioflavonoids include blueberries, apricots, and apples. Cocoa powder and green tea are good sources, as well.