Food & Supplements For Joint Health

May 13, 2024

Do you experience joint pain or stiffness? Have you been diagnosed with arthritis? Joint pain can make simple everyday activities very challenging. You might find it too painful to even keep up with daily tasks or hobbies you love. On today’s episode we're going to give you natural solutions that you can implement to help you with your joints, no matter what state of health they’re currently in. We're going to discuss foods that cause inflammation and increase joint breakdown, as well as foods and some key supplements that support our joints to keep them healthy, mobile, and free of pain.

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LEAH: Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight & Wellness. We are thrilled to have been dishing up weekly shows to you for 20 years, and we thank you for your support. For those of you listening, let me ask you a question. Do you experience joint pain or stiffness? Have you been diagnosed with arthritis?

Most of us experience pain after certain strenuous activities, but for many, joint pain can make even simple everyday activities very challenging. You might find it too painful to keep up with daily tasks. Some of the hobbies you used to love may become more of a burden if you're dealing with achy or stiff joints.

So on today's episode, we're going to give you natural solutions that you can implement to help you with your joints, no matter what state of health they're in. We're going to discuss foods that cause inflammation and increase joint breakdown, as well as foods and some key supplements that support our joints and keep them healthy, mobile, and free of pain.

So my name is Leah Kleinschrodt, and I'm a Registered and Licensed Dietitian. With me today is Brandy Buro, who is also a Registered and Licensed Dietitian. And it is good to be back doing the show with you finally.

BRANDY: Yeah. Thanks for having me, Leah. It has been a long time.

LEAH: Yep.

BRANDY: Yeah. I'm really excited to be here. I'm really excited about this topic, discussing joint pain. You know, this is something that's impacted me personally, pretty significantly, in recent history.

LEAH: Yep.

BRANDY: And I know firsthand how life changing living a life off free of that joint pain can be. So when I'm working with a client that's dealing with this, there's nothing better than having them come back for their follow up appointment with a huge smile on their face, because they're now moving throughout their day without pain.

And that's just from targeted supplements and real food, a meal plan that works for them. And to be pain free is truly a game changer. It's life changing. And it's really impressive to me the power food has when it comes to joint pain and reducing inflammation in the whole body.

LEAH: Yep.

BRANDY: So those that are able to manage their pain with a real food diet, they start to notice that if those inflammatory foods start to sneak back in, their pain returns. I think you said earlier it comes back and it's barking at you.

LEAH: Absolutely.

BRANDY: So that is a valuable experience because when you can make that connection between what causes your pain, it's so much easier for you to stick to the real food meal plan. Because they know then that's the secret to pain free.

LEAH: Yep. And I have personal experience in this realm as well. I'm sure I've shared this story before on our show, but for me, knee pain is a big thing. I'm always cognizant of what my knees are doing on a day to day basis. I was very active.

Growing up and in my teens and early adulthood too. But I've also had surgeries on both of my knees. And so that is where if I hold some inflammation, my knees are one of those areas, like you said, that kind of barks at me. And when I first started at Nutritional Weight & Wellness, I worked one on one with one of the dietitians here and we implemented a food plan and a very specific supplement plan, and many of these things we're going to talk about in today's show.

And I specifically remember four days after starting that whole plan, I knelt down to grab something out of one of our lower cabinets at my house and I had no knee pain.


LEAH: Yeah. And it just struck me in that moment of like, oh, I can move again. I can move without those aches or without like, at least it registering in my brain, like, oh, that was not a good movement for me to do.

BRANDY: Four days.

LEAH: Yeah, four days.

BRANY: Incredible.

LEAH: Yeah. And you know, that's not everybody's experience necessarily. But for me, it was a really quick difference that I noticed. And so nowadays, I still manage to keep my knee pain actually fairly well controlled, but I definitely have those times where if I am more inflamed, and this could be from, maybe I did have something sugary or something more processed the day before, or maybe I string it together in a couple of days, or if I'm sleep deprived or something else is kind of driving my inflammation up, I noticed it in my knees.

It's that like, oh, again, you’re thinking about your knees as you go up and down steps, or as you're going like up and down hills, or I'm playing outside with my kids, those kinds of things. And so I definitely know what are some of those foods or some of those things in my diet that contribute to that inflammation. And just having that knowledge is so empowering. Cause then you can make an informed choice about what you want to do going forward.

BRANDY: Yeah, it puts you in control. Control you didn't think you had before.

LEAH: Exactly, exactly. So, thinking about pain, maybe surprisingly, or maybe not for some of you long time listeners, but pain is one of the most common health issues that we as dietitians work on with our clients. It seems as though everyone is suffering from some kind of pain these days. In fact, the CDC reports that one in four adults have been diagnosed with arthritis, and unfortunately, like many chronic illnesses, that number is expected to grow.

When we say arthritis, we mean it as a general term for inflammatory conditions that affect the joints, the tissues around the joint, and other connective tissues. For some people it is kind of still a mild nuisance, but there is a spectrum here. Arthritis is a leading cause of work disability. And of course, not being able to work can put a tremendous stressor on someone's life and livelihood.

BRANDY: Absolutely. And I think there are so many people out there that are dealing with joint pain, wherever it is on the spectrum that think that it's just part of their destiny, that it's inevitable that they go through life with pain because maybe their parents had the same exact symptoms or maybe their grandparents did.

Genetics play small risk factor in developing joint pain

But I really like to encourage my clients to think about this differently because joint pain really doesn't have to be part of your destiny. It doesn't have to be part of getting older. Genetics really only play a very small fraction in your total risk factor for developing joint pain or something like arthritis.

There's actually a lot more hinging on like your diet choices and other lifestyle factors that will determine whether or not you experience pain and how much pain you feel. So we actually do have a lot more control than we think we do. It's not just genetics.

LEAH: Yep. And that to a T describes where my brain was at also before I started making some of those diet and lifestyle modifications. My mom's side of the family, especially tons of knee replacements, joint pains and things like that on that side of the family. So that was something that was in my brain. I was like, yep, this is just something in my family history. And then I got proven wrong. In a good way.

BRANDY: Right. That's awesome. Yep. So if you're listening today and some of you out there may think that this topic doesn't apply to you, I would still encourage you to stay tuned and hang with us through today's show because we want to stay proactive on our joint health and that speaks to most any other kind of condition or any part of your body.

You want to be proactive in taking care of your joints and of your health. You don't want to be in that desperate place. You don't want to be grasping for straws or you don't want to be at the end of your rope before you start paying attention to your joints. The truth is by the time someone is suffering from joint pain, the joints have already started breaking down over years and possibly even decades before it really started to hit.

So it's never too early to start caring about your joints. But I bet many other people who also suffer from joint pain wish we had some of this information beforehand or wish we had just started to care a little bit more sooner. And pain is something nobody wants to experience, especially when you get to that point where the joint gets so broken down that now we're looking at options of surgery.

BRANDY: Right. Yeah. I think a lot of people just put up with the pain for so long until it gets to a point where they just can't handle it anymore. And then they are in that desperate situation where maybe they are thinking about surgery and it's really quite shocking to me to know how many knee replacements and hip replacements are done in the United States every year.

I was looking up some data from the American College of Rheumatology. I found that 1.3 million hip and knee replacement surgeries are done in the United States every year. And they expect that that number is going to continue to grow because our population is aging. So more and more people are in a state where the other joint pain is coming to a head.

And, although this is somewhat of a common surgery now, kind of routine, if you know anybody that's had this surgery, or maybe you've had the surgery yourself, you know, that it's not fun. It is no walk in the park. There's nothing easy about this. And thinking about the long term pain leading up to that surgery, plus the surgery itself, and then the long recovery time, it's really just something you want to avoid at all costs, if you can.

Plus a lot of people, after they have the surgery, they're not really regaining their mobility, and oftentimes they're still dealing with a lot of pain after the fact, so it's not a quick fix by any means.

LEAH: Yeah, there is definitely a lot to take into consideration there, and there's work on one end of the spectrum or the other. There is some level of work that needs to be done. Ideally, we want to do what we can to prevent either joint pain or needing a hip or knee replacement surgery.

But if you already have one scheduled, then we think about, okay, what can we do to prepare for an easier recovery? What can we do to aid our body in that healing process so that we can get back to as much of a baseline as we can? Or in general, as we age, what can we do to prevent joint pain and deterioration? That's the big focus of our show today. Let's talk about what, what causes that joint pain?

Sugar & processed carbohydrates can increase joint pain

BRANDY: Right. Well, joint pain is really an inflammation problem. So from a dietary perspective, we have to think about what causes the inflammation. So this can be different depending on the person. But I think the biggest trigger for most people is going to be sugar. So the obvious sources of sugar are going to be those sugary treats; things like desserts and candy and even soda or those sugary coffee drinks. But when I say sugar, I also mean those ultra processed carbohydrates. So this is foods like bread and crackers, chips, or maybe even pasta.

LEAH: Yep.

BRANDY: So all of those ultra processed carbohydrates, they digest down into sugar in your body. So it's the sugar and the starch that turns into sugar from those processed carbs that causes inflammation. So that's a pretty simple way to think of it.

LEAH: Yeah.

BRANDY: But I do have a story that I want to share just to demonstrate how much of an impact sugar and those processed carbohydrates have on joint pain. I met with a client two years ago, she had done the Nutrition for Weight Loss Foundations class. So she met with me just to get some individual support.

Primary goals were weight loss, but she also wanted to become more active as a way to support her weight loss goals. So as we were talking, you know, a big complaint she had was that her joints hurt so bad that exercise wasn't really an option. Like she was struggling even just to get through a grocery shopping trip because the pain was so bad.

Over the next few months, we worked on developing that real food meal plan. She was a big soda drinker. You know, she was snacking on a lot of chips and candy even, especially in the evenings. The sugar and those processed carbs were definitely a big part of her life. But as we started cleaning some of those out, removing the processed foods, eventually she did eliminate soda altogether, which was amazing.

And we've been working on this for over a year, but slowly making progress. I saw her a couple of weeks ago, we were reflecting on all the progress that she's made over the last couple of years. So I asked her about the joint pain again. She's like, you know, I haven't even really thought about it lately.

LEAH: And that's the best answer.

BRANDY: Yeah, it was like, it's not even on my mind. And this is somebody that went from, again, not being able to just shop for groceries, but she's now going to the gym three or four times, started a weightlifting program, swimming, loving life. So pretty amazing. I was really, really happy to hear her just realize that for herself, that joint pain is not part of the picture anymore.

LEAH: Yep. And I think that, that exact point of, oh, it's not even something that I think about anymore. It's not nothing that takes up brain space anymore. Like that's the best answer you could hear in that sense.

BRANDY: Definitely.

How does sugar make the joints hurt?

LEAH: Yeah. Yeah. So let's dig into the mechanisms around that a little bit. Like how does sugar make my joints hurt? The foods that you mentioned before, those ultra processed carbohydrates, the breads, the chips, the pastas, the crackers, the cereals, plus those higher sugar foods, the sodas and cakes and things that we think about as being sugary, they have a very high amount of carbohydrate and oftentimes, we eat them in amounts that are more than what our bodies can handle at one given time. Like most people are not measuring out a half a cup of pasta or a half a cup of cereal, or at least I wasn't when I was eating cereal.

BRANDY: Exactly.

LEAH: So, so when we eat a very high amount of carbohydrates that, those carbohydrates break down into sugar, in the body and cause a high blood sugar level. When we get high blood sugar, our pancreas responds to that by kicking out a lot of insulin, one of our big master hormones.

Insulin's job is to bring those blood sugars back down. But if we are spiking our blood sugars and needing a lot of insulin every single time we eat and we do this day in and day out, month in and month out, year in and year out, this chronic inflammation results from that high insulin and high blood sugar levels.

What we want is our blood sugar to go up and down slightly throughout the day, but for the most part, stay pretty steady. Think of it like the gentle up and down of a merry-go-round versus being on a big roller coaster ride.

BRANDY: Right. I love that analogy. That's great.

LEAH: Yeah, it makes sense. So when you're eating a diet high in those refined carbohydrates, your blood sugar is constantly on that roller coaster and your pancreas is doing the same thing and pumping out a lot of that insulin. So again, just think high insulin equals chronic inflammation. That long term inflammation, over time, breaks down cartilage. And this could be the cartilage in your knee, or it could be the cartilage in your shoulder. It could be the cartilage, I mean, take your pick, like, wherever those joints are. And cartilage is that smooth rubber like padding or cushion that's in between two bones coming together, and that's what that joint is.

So it's a protective layer, and it can take years of that inflammation to cause the joint wear and tear. So sometimes we're not able to necessarily make that connection between soda if we've been drinking it for 20 years, and our joint pain. And you might not necessarily make that connection until you're willing to stop or give it up or just take a break from it for a time.

BRANDY: Well, and that might be a case, too, where certain foods maybe didn't make you feel a certain way five years ago.

LEAH: Yep.

BRANDY: You think they're not a problem, but now that inflammation has taken its toll and now you're feeling it more.

LEAH: Yeah. That's a perfect example right there. Yep. And so when we think about that breakdown of cartilage, this oftentimes will happen in the larger joints, like your back, your hips, your knees. But we also see this happening in our smaller joints, hands, feet, ankles, wrists. So each time you reach for that bagel or that cookie or that tortilla chip, maybe it's helpful to think, is this worth it knowing that I'm causing damage to my joints? Or if I eat this today, how am I going to wake up feeling tomorrow? Good questions to always check in with yourself on.

Gluten can trigger joint inflammation

BRANDY: Yeah. Is it worth it? So obviously sugar and those processed carbohydrates are a problem, but what are some other foods that could trigger some of that inflammation? You know, for me personally, and for a lot of my clients, a pretty big underlying cause of joint inflammation is gluten. So that's certainly the case for me. How about for you?

LEAH: I would say yes. And it's just something that I haven't really wanted to test out in more recent years.

BRANDY: Yeah; not worth it to you.

LEAH: Yeah.

BRANDY: And most foods that contain gluten also fall within that category of processed carbohydrates. So it can actually be a double whammy when you think about where gluten normally is.

So if you suffer from joint pain, I encourage you to completely eliminate gluten for at least a few weeks. You know, I really encourage clients to give it at least three weeks. If they can, six weeks would be ideal. And then you can make a decision. You can determine if any of your symptoms are improving and going gluten free, going 100% gluten free for that time can be kind of overwhelming, but this is something that any of the dietitians or nutritionists at Nutritional Weight & Wellness can help you with in that individual one on one consult.

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So we can help you come up with a plan that works for you and your lifestyle and get you through that three weeks, get you through four weeks, you know, whatever it takes. And I do encourage it, although oftentimes I get some pushback because many people don't think they have a problem with gluten, mostly because they don't really experience any significant digestive issues when they have something like bread or pasta.

But there are so many other signs in the body that can clue you in as to whether or not you have a sensitivity to gluten. Joint pain is one symptom. I know for me, I was also experiencing a lot of skin issues, a lot of acne and rashes on my skin. And that was honestly, the acne was the reason I decided to go gluten free just to test that out.

But it turns out my joint pain got a lot better too. So you know, broadening the perspective on how you might react to gluten. Cause it's not always going to be like a digestive reaction. So if I were to just explain a little bit more about what's happening here, why is gluten an issue when it comes to joint pain?

So for many people, gluten actually causes damage to the intestinal lining, and that can lead to something called leaky gut. And this is a situation where that irritation in the gut lining can actually lead to little tiny tears or holes in the intestine. Food can actually leak through those cracks and into your bloodstream.

And that's when your immune system can be activated. Because those little tiny particles of food should not be floating around outside of the digestive tract. And the immune system is really just doing its job. It's alerting your body to these foreign invaders. But when your immune system is activated it's going to cause inflammation throughout the body, and it could show up in your joints. And this is especially true for a specific type of arthritis called rheumatoid arthritis, which is an autoimmune type of arthritis.

LEAH: Yeah, we haven't really talked too much about the immune system necessarily yet. So I do want to revisit that on the other side of our break. So you are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. Do you ever think to yourself, “I want to eat healthier? But I don't like to cook or I don't have time to cook.” If that sounds like you, I would highly recommend taking advantage of one of our live virtual cooking classes offerings, starting up again this month of May. And we're offering a bunch throughout the summer.

You can follow along virtually while chef Marianne shows how simple it is to make delicious real food recipes at home. Our goal is to have you walk away feeling inspired, like you can do this in your own kitchen. No cooking experience required. Our goal is to give you confidence in the kitchen while learning fun facts about nutrition along the way. So if you want to learn a little bit more or just explore some of our offerings, you can visit our website at And we'll be right back.

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BRANDY: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. Before break, we were discussing the connection between how gluten can activate the immune system, even if you're not experiencing any digestive issues. And that immune response can flare up inflammation in the body. And that's where you might experience some joint pain.

More on gluten & the autoimmune connection to joint pain

LEAH: Yeah. This is true for some of that wear and tear osteoarthritis, but also this is true for rheumatoid arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition.

BRANDY: Right.

LEAH: Yep. And autoimmune just means that the body's immune system is attacking itself. It's attacking some kind of tissue in its own body. So in rheumatoid arthritis or RA, it's specifically attacking the joints. So again, the immune response is not just limited to people who are diagnosed with RA. This is happening even with osteoarthritis, which is more of that joint damage due to wear and tear.

So let's just say you have some wear and tear damage in your knee joint, for example, or maybe I'll just raise my hand for this one because most of us will have some of this as we age and some of us more so than others, depending on if we've been active throughout our lives or if we've had surgeries or traumas to that area.

Now, on top of that, you have a damaged leaky gut from eating gluten. And again, this was me. I had more like IBS types of symptoms back then also. So I had the gut component and I had the joint pain component. So I think now that I know what I know, it's like that's a clear connection. But I didn't see that right back in my 20s when this was all going on.

So then let's say you eat a piece of toast or you eat a bowl of cereal, particles from that toast or cereal crosses from your gut into the bloodstream from those tiny holes in your gut from that leaky gut. So things are getting out of the gut that should be staying in the gut. And because now you already have some little damage in your knee, a little micro damage, that immune system is going to alert the attention there to say, send your firefighters out, send all the alarms out, like go to this knee joint. Let's get an immune response going so we can repair.


LEAH: Then you feel pain and inflammation in your knee as you have that immune response. So just like if you were to fall and scrape your knee, you would feel pain and your skin would turn red and inflamed as the immune system does its job and responds and works to heal that wound.

But if you fell and scraped your knee in the exact same spot every single day, it would never get a chance to heal. And I can say this because this is what my toddlers do all the time. Like you try to get that knee or that leg or like that elbow scrape to heal up, but they keep like a day or two later, they fall and hit that exact same spot and it opens up the scab and now it's bleeding again.

Same type of thing here. If you fall and scrape that knee every day, or if you're eating gluten every day and causing that scraping motion on the joints, you are going to continue to get that same immune response and you're never going to get to that healing point where the repairs are able to be made. The gut never gets time to heal. So again, you're just constantly in that state of inflammation.

BRANDY: Right. I love that analogy so much. I think that helps demonstrate like, what commitment is needed to really give yourself the time to heal.

LEAH: Yeah.

BRANDY: So I think, and I've made this mistake to trying to heal my gut. I think that I can handle a little egg roll or something once or twice a month, treat myself. But honestly, that's too often for me to experience the benefit of going gluten free all the other six days out of the week.

LEAH: Yeah.

BRANDY: Yep. So really being consistent with that has made a difference for me. And if your body is inflamed, again, trying to stay clear of these inflammatory foods as consistently as you can. Sugar and gluten are the biggest culprits, so that's where I like to start when trying to identify some of those inflammatory foods when I'm working with clients that are struggling with joint pain.

There are other inflammatory foods that could be triggers and it might take a little more detective work to figure out what that is for you, but definitely start with these big players because when you think about it, if you eliminate these common trigger foods, best case scenario, your pain is going to go away and you're going to feel great.

Worst case scenario is that you'll still feel better overall, even if the pain doesn't go away completely. But, when we get rid of sugar and processed carbohydrates, many of which contain gluten, you're probably going to experience some other benefits. Your skin might start clearing up. You might start sleeping better. You might have more energy. Some people even lose a few pounds. So even if those aren't your primary goals, there's some nice side effects from cleaning up the diet.

LEAH: Absolutely. And you mentioned that was the case for you. Like your skin cleared up in addition to some of that joint pain disappeared as well.

BRANDY: Exactly. Yeah.

LEAH: Yeah. And I did want to share a brief story about a client that I worked with recently, who also like your client had taken the Nutrition for Weight Loss Foundation series. So we'll just shout out that series one more time.


LEAH: This client, she was through about week five in the program. She had come in with goals of weight loss, but just also general health, taking care of her immune system. She had have been diagnosed with breast cancer and big scare, of course, and had a double mastectomy with a hormone driven cancer, like if it's an estrogen or if it's a hormone driven breast cancer, oftentimes patients will be on then medications for several years, like a hormone blocking type of medication for several years after they have their initial treatments.

And this client was one of those on one of those medications and that medication was causing her terrible body aches and pains, not necessarily just the joints, but just widespread body pain to the point where she was like, I don't know that I can continue to take this medication anymore.


LEAH: But one week after being in the Nutrition for Weight Loss Foundation's program, her pain had diminished so much that she was like, oh, yeah, I can stay on this medication. I could see myself lasting now five years on this medication. It was such a profound turnaround in such a short amount of time. And that just, that blew my mind for sure too.

But it was again, just that power of real food. And she was somebody who was going out to eat at least once a day. And just again, like very carb heavy, very processed foods heavy. And she jumped in both feet into the balanced food eating plan and saw near immediate benefits. So that that was a story that really stuck out for me.

BRANDY: Yeah, that's incredible. And when you first told me that story you did mention like she was like committed. She was like a hundred percent I want to see what this can do for me. There wasn't any I guess half 50 percent effort. That's amazing.

LEAH: Yeah. Yeah. So now we've covered and gone over some of the causes of joint pain and inflammation. What do we need to do now? We talked about cutting out sugar and gluten as being too big culprits, but what else do we need to be eating?

Eat healthy fats to support joint health

Let's start with healthy fats. Think of those healthy fats. It's where our joints need lubrication for optimal function, just like our car needs oil to lubricate the moving parts in the engine. So if you've got a squeaky door, you put some oil on the hinge. Your joints need that same lubrication to be healthy.

So when we think about healthy fats, think about grass fed butter, unrefined coconut oil or a good cold pressed avocado oil or olive oil, and eating these with every meal and every snack is going to help your joints stay lubricated and calm inflammation.

And then when we think about healthy fats, you might also think about omega-3s. Those might come to mind and you would be correct. You can find omega-3s naturally in foods like wild caught salmon, a lot of those fatty fish, grass fed beef, and a variety of nuts and seeds. But oftentimes and Brandy, I'm sure you do the same thing, even if we are like peppering some of these items into the diet, if we're trying to get that therapeutic benefit of omega-threes, or if somebody really is in a very highly inflamed state, we're probably going to recommend an omega-three supplement just so we can get that dose up and get it up for a long enough time to make a difference.

BRANDY: Yep. I do the same thing. It's hard to get enough omega-threes when you're dealing with a lot of inflammation just from food.

LEAH: Yeah.

BRANDY: Yep, so we are looking that's why the omega 3 fish oil. It's one of the key supplement recommendations for general health, but it's for sure on the top of my list for joint pain and we've got a couple different kinds. We've got more of a regular strength, but there is also an extra strength.

So that's beneficial because you can take fewer capsules and try to get like a higher dose there. We do have some liquid options as well. So that can be helpful if somebody either doesn't like pills or you're getting a little pill fatigued, or we're dealing with somebody who can't swallow really well, or just has trouble with those omega-threes. They can be a little large sometimes. And I always ask, how many are you taking? Because more often than not, it's one or two, one or two soft gels.

BRANDY: Not only that, I like to look at the product they're taking to see how much omega-3 fats are in a capsule, because sometimes it's not a very highly concentrated formula and they end up needing to take like 10 capsules to get the therapeutic dose.

LEAH: Yep. That's a great point also. Yep. Yeah. It's like trying to put out a house fire with a squirt gun full of water.

BRANDY: Right. Yeah.

LEAH: So what we're probably looking at for a lot of people is 3 softgels, four softgels, even six softgels to really get some of that, start to knock down some of that inflammation. So you need to be taking enough and even better if you're also getting regularly eating high quality fish and nuts and seeds like then we're really feeding those omega-threes into the system.

Vegetables are anti-inflammatory

BRANDY: Yep. Love it. And all these foods are delicious too. So don't have to twist your arm too much to get those in. But another group of anti-inflammatory foods that you need to have present on your plate are vegetables. Vegetables are going to be part of your joint relief plan. So I always suggest try to fill at least half of your plate with colorful vegetables. Every single meal they need to be there.

These colorful vegetables are full of polyphenols. So that's just another way to say plant compounds and they help fight inflammation. So you can think every time I take a bite of a colorful vegetable, I am fighting my pain. I am controlling inflammation.

Curcumin is anti-inflammatory

Some of you may have heard of herbs and spices having some medicinal properties or anti-inflammatory properties. And there is one in particular that is a go to for me and helping me with my pain and inflammation, and that's curcumin. So curcumin is actually the active anti inflammatory compound of something you probably have in your spice cabinet, turmeric.

LEAH: Yeah.

BRANDY: So it's that bright yellow spice that maybe you've used in curry or soups. Leah, I think you said you used to put it in your eggs.

LEAH: Yep.


LEAH: Yep. I would sprinkle that just in some scrambled eggs. That was my way of getting it in.

BRANDY: That sounds awesome. So lots of ways that you can use that. It has that bright yellow color, but if you supplement with the active compound Curcumin, it's a very concentrated. And it's great for overall health, but I find that it really helps calm my joint pain and just inflammation throughout the whole body.

LEAH: Yeah. Yeah. Excellent point. And you know, we're going to talk about bone broth in a second too, but that would be another place if people, like you said, soups, curries, bone broth, that's another place where you could, again, it doesn't take a lot, but you could just sprinkle some of that turmeric in there and get some of those benefits.

BRANDY: Great idea.

Animal protein provides tissue support

LEAH: Yeah. So another key food group for joint health thinking we got to think about our animal proteins because we need the amino acids or those building blocks of protein to be able to do a lot of the repair work in our tissues. We know we get the most absorbable and complete proteins through animal based foods and we need enough of them.

So to support joint health, we're often recommending clients to eat at least three to four ounces of animal protein at each meal. And for some people who have bigger appetites or lots of sugar cravings, or they're just in a bigger body, thinking about men in general, you might need five, six, even seven ounces of that animal protein.

And let's not also forget about protein snacks. It is all too common to do like apple and peanut butter for a quick snack, which is great. We want those real carbs and those healthy fats, but let's not forget about the protein at that snack also, whether you're throwing in a nitrate free meat stick or a hard boiled egg or something along those lines. One of my clients earlier today, she would just do leftover chicken from the fridge and just toss that in.

BRANDY: That's easy.

LEAH: Yeah, easy peasy. So that is a big focus that I have with my clients, making sure that we're eating enough protein, especially for my clients who are suffering from joint pain, because we need those amino acids just to help support and prevent our joints from deteriorating.

BRANDY: Well, and another great source of protein that has some bonus nutrients for joint health is bone broth.

LEAH: There we go.

BRANDY: Yep. I love bone broth. I really like to use this in my soups and my stews. But this is a natural source of collagen and collagen is very supportive in our joints and our ligaments. So when you're making bone broth, you're actually simmering bones in water. And through that process, it's actually drawing that natural collagen out of the bone, along with some of those minerals that are used to build bone.

LEAH: Yep.

BRANDY: So when you drink bone broth, all of those benefits are going to you and your joints. So rich in collagen, rich in minerals. If you don't use it in recipes, you can even just sip on it in a mug. I love it for a snack, especially in the winter. I think it's delicious. You can spice it up with different herbs.

And I make my own. It's very easy. Very easy. I make it in the instant pot or the crock pot at home. But if you want to purchase a good quality bone broth, you can find some easily at a co-op. They should have some good options for you, but if you want to go the more economical route, make your own. There's a step-by-step instructional video on our website,

LEAH: I truly think too bone broth is a very forgiving kind of recipe. You can be very creative with it. You can tinker with it and you're probably not going to go wrong.

BRANDY: Yeah. You're not going to mess it up.

LEAH: Yeah. Yep. So that's a great point about collagen in our diet to support our tissues, especially as we age and naturally our bodies just don't produce as much collagen as we get up there in years.


LEAH: Bone broth, I always describe that as nature's collagen supplement before like collagen supplements became a big thing several years ago. But I definitely have clients that kind of give me a little bit of a stink eye when I mention like you could drink some bone broth or, it's one of those time factors. Like, I just don't know that I would factor in the time to make my own bone broth.


LEAH: What can I do instead? So that's where I might offer something like our Key Collagen powder. I like this for clients who have, they've been diagnosed with some level of cartilage breakdown and they have joint pain. They know they have that wear and tear there. There are a lot of collagen products out there on the market, but this one in particular that we carry is a medical food and it's better for your joints than most you can find most anywhere else.

Our Key Collagen is the only product on the market that has four of the bioactive collagen peptides that really make up very specific tissues in our body. There's a very specific little piece of protein in there called Tendoforte, and it's specifically to strengthen tendons and ligaments.

You won't find Tendoforte peptides in any other collagen powders. There's another peptide in there specifically for joints and cartilage. It's called Fortigel. This one works for cartilage regeneration and joint health. And yes, I said regeneration. It is possible to prevent and even to start to reverse that cartilage breakdown.

BRANDY: And that's just amazing. Some of my clients are like in disbelief when I tell them that it's possible to rebuild what was lost. So highly recommend that. But collagen, it is really important for our joint health because collagen makes up about 70 percent of our cartilage. So again, cartilage is that rubbery tissue that's on the end of your bone that protects your bone from rubbing against the other bone, which is where you can experience that pain.

So if you add some collagen in, that's just a boost for your joint health and maintenance, but also potentially repairing damaged joints. So that’s one of the reasons I think Key Collagen is one of our most popular supplements, because I've heard so often that if people take a break from it or they switch brands, their joint pain comes back. And I know that's the case for my mom. She'll run out for maybe a couple of weeks and she's like, oh, okay. Yeah, I need you to order more of that.

LEAH: That reminder like it comes back to your brain of like, oh, yeah, there's pain that I had that I didn't have before.

BRANDY: Yeah, exactly. You're thinking about it again. I really like to pair the Key Collagen with another supplement. It's called Joint Revive. So Joint Revive, it actually has a little bit of collagen in it, but there's also some magnesium and hops extract. So this altogether acts kind of like a natural anti-inflammatory, kind of like a natural pain reliever compared to something like ibuprofen or something that's over the counter.

But what I like about this is you can take it throughout the day. But it's not going to put stress on your liver or your kidneys the way those over the counter pain relievers have.

LEAH: Absolutely.

BRANDY: So, a little more peace of mind. And this is another one that I noticed that clients, you know, if they take a break from it, they forget to pack it on a vacation or something, the joint pain’s sparking again.

LEAH: Yep. Yep. That's a great point. I agree with all of that, of what you said. The Joint Revive is another great supplement that people could have in their arsenal. Yeah.


So let's review what we've talked about today and just kind of wrap up our show. As we know, joint pain is a serious issue that interferes with our daily lives. There, there are dietary causes or contributors to joint pain and inflammation. So first we want to remove the common triggers of sugar and gluten.

And then it's critical to give our joints the building blocks and those healing elements using real foods, especially healthy fats to lubricate those joints, animal protein to build up the joint tissue, vegetables for their anti-inflammatory properties. We all want to incorporate that into a real food balanced eating plan. You can think about it as ultra processed foods harm; real foods heal. It's a simple but powerful way to think about it. And each time you take a bite of food, you can be thinking, is this harming or healing my joints?

BRANDY: Right. You have the choice. And then for added support, we recommend a few key supplements. I absolutely recommend those omega-3s and the curcumin for their anti-inflammatory properties, but also try the Key Collagen for some of that repair support and Joint Revive for a little pain reliever.

LEAH: And diet and lifestyle change isn't always easy but living pain free or with less pain than you did before is worth the effort. Let us help you be your own success story. You can give us a call at 651-699-3438 or visit our website at to learn more. And we thank you for listening today.

Check Out Our Website for More Information!

BRANDY: Thank you.

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