Joint pain shouldn’t be a part of your day-to-day life — here are a few ways nutritional changes can help alleviate the pain, with expert advice.
Rob Hobson, Head of Nutrition at Healthspan, says, “Olive oil is rich in vitamin E and is also a compound called oleocanthal, which is responsible for the burning sensation you get at the back of your throat from some extra virgin olive oils. Research has suggested that this compound has powerful anti-inflammatory properties suggested to be akin to ibuprofen, and as such oleocanthal is considered to be a naturally occurring NSAID.
“It’s also a key component of the Mediterranean diet. This diet has been hailed for its many health benefits and according to research, following this diet may help to reduce pain and increase physical function in people living with RA. Try incorporating some in your diet today, from cooking to simple salad dressings.”
Alison Cullen, a Nutritionist at A.Vogel, says, “Cherries contain anthocyanins, which is what gives them their red colouring. Anthocyanins have antioxidant properties that help to prevent inflammation in the body. They can also be found in red and purple fruits like strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries. Cherries are high in bioflavonoids that can actively help sore muscles and joints.”
She continues, saying “One study found that people who drank under 250ml of cherry juice daily experienced significant reduction in pain and stiffness. What’s more, cherries have also been shown to be beneficial in gout management, with cherry intake being associated with a 50% lower risk of gout flare-ups.”
Stay away from added sugars
While delicious, added sugars in fizzy juice and desserts were the most frequently reported to worsen rheumatoid arthritis and joint pain in a 2017 study. But it’s not just fizzy juice — you can find added sugars in condiments like barbeque sauce too. What’s more, a study found that women who regularly digested sugar-sweetened fizzy juice experienced an increased risk of rheumatoid arthritis.
Add broccoli to your diet
Alison says, “Broccoli is rich in vitamin K, which is thought to destroy inflammatory cells that contribute to arthritis and joint pain. It’s also high in vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant that helps to fight off molecules that trigger rheumatoid inflammation. Broccoli also contains a compound called sulforaphane, which could help slow the progression of osteoarthritis.
“One study suggested that this compound may help slow down the breakdown of cartilage by reducing the production of the enzymes that contribute to human cartilage breakdown. “However,” Alison advises, “it is important to note that this study involved human cells and cartilage samples from cows and mice, and further research needs to be done in order to identify whether it has the same level of beneficial effects on human cartilage.”
Increase your intake of antioxidants
Rob explains, “Antioxidants are found in many plant foods and especially fruits and vegetables. These compounds help to protect the body from ‘oxidative stress’ which may be involved in the development of OA. The most widely researched antioxidants include vitamins A, C and E although the evidence for their association with OA is not that strong. Regardless of this, it there are a huge array of benefits from eating more fruits and vegetables so you should try to eat at least five a day.
He continues, saying “Research has highlighted promising results in reducing pain and inflammation associated with arthritis among certain fruits rich in polyphenol compounds (flavonoids) shown to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Such fruits include blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and pomegranates. It has also been shown that specific fruit polyphenols such as quercetin and citrus flavonoids may play a role in alleviating symptoms of RA.”
Try out cannabidols
Dr Sarah Brewer points out, “Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of the most popular supplements for pain. Derived from industrial hemp plants, it has an uplifting and relaxing effect, and reduces pain perception. CBD interacts with your own endocannabinoid system and has positive effects on how the brain interprets pain signals.
“Unlike medical marijuana, CBD does not activate the receptors that produce psychoactive effects (CB1) but instead appears to enhance the effects of natural brain substances, such as serotonin, dopamine, and anandamine. CBD not only reduces the level of pain signals reaching the brain but alters the way you respond to them, changing your reaction to pain and helping you feel and cope much better. In addition, CBD reduces anxiety and stress, improves sleep and lifts mood.
“I would recommend starting slow and low dose and try Healthspan CBD Joint Support which also contains vitamins C, UC-11 Collagen and vitamin D3 to support joint cartilage and muscle health.”