Every day our joints get a serious workout and they can easily become stressed, resulting in pain and inflammation. The right diet, however, can help to keep the joints in the best of shape, ensuring you retain pain-free mobility throughout your life.
Vitamin C is an absolute essential for healthy joints, as it aids the production of collagen, part of the cartilage, tendons and ligaments that help to prevent joint wear and tear. Red peppers are particularly high in this wonder vitamin, but citrus fruits, tomatoes and pineapple are also good sources.
It is thought to be the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory anthocyanins, plant pigments found in cherries and other red and purple fruits that helps to protect joints. A study at the Philadelphia VA Medical Centre in the US found that patients with osteoarthritis in the knee who consumed tart cherry juice daily saw a significant improvement in pain, stiffness and function after six weeks. When they stopped drinking the juice, the symptoms returned. Similar studies have shown that cherries can help to reduce the symptoms of gout. If cherries aren't your thing, try blueberries, raspberries or pomegranate instead.
While exercise is undoubtedly good for you, it can put an extra strain on the joints. Oats have been linked to reduced inflammation, helping the joints to recover after a workout. So steer clear of the refined carbs like white flour and grab yourself an energy-loaded bowl of porridge with fruit.
You may have heard it before, but the Omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish have many wonderful health-giving properties, not least their ability to help reduce swelling and discomfort in the joints.
Though high in calories, walnuts are awash with healthy nutrients, and when it comes to your joints, it is the alpha-linolenic acid, a type of omega-3 fatty acid, that helps to fight inflammation - the fibre, calcium and vitamin E are just an added bonus.
Leafy greens like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, chard, and current king of the greens, kale, are brimming with nutrients, most notably vitamin C, which combats the damage to the joints associated with ageing, and calcium, magnesium and vitamin K for strong bones.
The health benefits of the Mediterranean diet regularly make the press, and olive oil plays a particularly important when it comes to the joints. A study by Gary Beauchamp from the Monell Chemical Sense Center in Philadelphia found that olive oil contains a compound called olecanthal, which prevents the production of pro-inflammatory enzymes, meaning it works in much the same way as anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen. So if you already suffer with stiff or uncomfortable joints, olive oil could help to ease the pain.
Do you suffer from joint pain? Has a change of diet helped ease the symptoms? Leave your comments below...