Preventing and Reducing Knee and Joint Pain
November 11, 2016
By Romaine Hanson, MS, RD, LD
Relieving the pain may be easier than you think! The solution may be as simple as paying attention to what you are eating in order to avoid inflammatory foods that often lead to pain.
What Inflammatory Foods Lead to Pain?
Eating highly processed foods (such as pasta, bread and crackers—especially those containing gluten) creates inflammation in the body. This inflammation then leads to the actual physical pain that you may feel in your knees and joints since the joints are particularly vulnerable to inflammation.
Foods with gluten, trans fats, found in snack foods like chips and pastries, and high sugar, that handful of M&M's from your coworkers desk, all cause inflammation. For many people, dairy products are also inflammatory. Eating these types of foods over a long period of time means more and more inflammation throughout the body and ultimately more pain.
What Anti-Inflammatory Foods Help Relieve Pain?
Wild caught salmon, tuna, halibut, walnuts, meats from grass-fed animals, organic eggs from pastured hens, fresh vegetables and fruits have all been proven to reduce pain associated with inflammation. Think about how many of these foods you eat on a regular basis. Is your eating plan helping to alleviate your pain or contributing to it?
Try the following eating plan, or variations of it, for a week or two and notice how much better you feel! Eating a diet consisting of anti-inflammatory foods (healthy proteins, carbohydrates, and fats like those listed below) provides the nutrients that are critical for keeping pain at bay. These foods also help your body build the cartilage and ligaments that support healthy joints.
- Breakfast: Two organic eggs cooked in two teaspoons of butter, half of a sweet potato and one cup of spinach.
- Mid-morning snack: Half an apple with two tablespoons of peanut butter and two ounces of nitrate-free deli meat.
- Lunch: 4-6 ounces of grilled salmon, half-cup of wild rice (cooked) and at least one cup of steamed mixed vegetables (such as broccoli, spinach, kale, Brussels sprouts or cauliflower) with two teaspoons of butter.
- Afternoon snack: Two-ounce chicken leg, two small tangerines and 16 almonds.
- Dinner: 4-6 ounces of grass fed beef (steak or hamburger patty), half-cup of squash, and two cups of green beans sautéed in two teaspoons of coconut oil.
More Support from Anti-Inflammatory Supplements
Often, food choices alone are not quite enough to kick joint and knee pain, especially if the body has been in an inflammatory state for an extended period of time. For extra healing, we recommend adding the following supplements:
- Glucosamine Chondroitin Complex with MSM: This supplement has been found to reduce inflammation and pain by supporting the growth of cartilage. We recommend a minimum dosage of 1500mg of glucosamine daily.
- Omega-3: A well-known anti-inflammatory supplement, also helps reduce joint pain. We recommend 3000-4000mg daily.
- Kaprex: A unique supplement developed by MetagenicsTM is very effective in reducing joint pain because it stops inflammation before it starts. We recommend taking one soft gel with meals, two times per day.
While changing your food sounds simple, many need more guidance and support, which is why a nutrition consultation, which we offer by phone or in-person, is often helpful. However, you can take our tips above and start alleviating your pain today! For more information on this topic, listen to our podcast: Keeping Your Joints Healthy or take our Foods to Reduce Pain & Inflammation class.