Nutrition And Pain Management: Tips And Advice
- Joint pain is a common health condition seen majorly in old age people.
- Joint pain can occur at one or multiple joints at the same time.
- Include a Mediterranean or anti-inflammatory diet to prevent inflammation.
- Eliminating certain foods and beverages may reduce the severity of symptoms in people with joint pain.
Joint pain is a manifestation of various bone diseases such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, bursitis, viral infections, injuries, tendinitis, etc.
Usually, joint pain occurs due to inflammation of the joints. Inflamed joints may appear either to be warm to the touch or swollen, or the overlying skin may look red.
Joint pain can occur not only when a joint is in motion but it can also be present while resting. Joint pain can be experienced in various parts of the body, such as hands, feet, hips, knees, shoulder, elbow, neck, or spine. Joint pain is generally distressing as it may impact patients' ability to carry out the day-to-day activity effectively, therefore hampering their personal as well as professional life.
Pain can get aggravated due to increased weight gain, co-morbidities, suboptimal dietary patterns, and diet quality. Body weight becomes the most effective modifiable risk factor for maintaining good bone health. Therefore, poor dietary habits are among the leading causes of morbidity.
In the blog below, we will learn about how nutrition is key to pain management.
Benefits of optimizing dietary intake to relief joint pain
Three main benefits are observed:
- Improves physiological functions of the nervous system, immune system, and endocrine system that impact pain experience.
- Joint inflammation and swelling can be reduced by losing or maintaining weight.
- Restricting ‘empty calories’ in the diet from sugar, fat, and alcohol helps to take care of weight, and improves joint health.
Pain management through the right nutrition
1. Fruits and vegetables with antioxidant & anti-inflammatory properties
- Fruits like berries, strawberries, blueberries, and cherries
- Citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits, and limes that are rich in vitamin C
- Vegetables like tomatoes, and lentils
- Green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, and collards
- Dry fruits like almonds, walnuts, etc. are rich sources for antioxidants and also the reduces risk of inflammation of joints.
- Neutralizes molecules called free radicals which are known to cause damage to the body’s cells and tissues
- Preventing inflammation in case of arthritis
- Maintains healthy joints
- Acts as the body’s natural defence system
H3: Healthy oils
- Olive oil
- Avocado oil
- Almond oil
- Sunflower oil
- Virgin olive oil helps to retain more nutrients than normal oil
- Avocado and safflower oils are known to reduce cholesterol
- Walnut oil has a 10 times higher quantity of omega-3 fatty acids
H3: Whole grains
- Rich source of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber
- Contain more nutrients, especially magnesium, and fiber, than refined grains
Beans (Legumes), pulses
- Green peas
- Green beans
- Kidney beans
- Excellent sources of protein, low-glycemic index carbohydrates, essential micronutrients, and fiber
- Lowers LDL-cholesterol
- Helps with Maintaining a Healthy Body Weight
- Provides essential nutrients like calcium and protein
- Calcium is vital for strong bones and is a major building block of our skeleton
- Essential for bone and overall health
Calcium and Vitamin D
- Dark green
- Leafy vegetables (spinach, broccoli, collard greens)
- Milk, cheese, and yogurt
- Maintains bone health and ensures good BMD
- Relieving joint pain
- Vitamins are crucial for bone growth
- Vitamin D found to be beneficial in the prevention of osteoporosis
- Calcium with Vitamin D supplements provides effective benefits to maintaining joint health
- Daily intake of fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, beans, pulses, lentils, olive oil, wholegrain, poultry food, and cereals are constituents included in the Mediterranean diet.
- This diet improves the clinical symptoms in people with rheumatoid arthritis
- Reduce swollen and tender joints
- Reduction in duration of morning stiffness
- Improved health wellbeing
- Reduces joint inflammation
- Weight loss
Vitamins and minerals such as calcium, vitamin D, vitamin C, Selenium manganese, and iron are crucial for bone and joint health.
Foods to avoid
Various food items that can negatively impact bone and joint health:
- Caffeine and salt cause calcium loss which results in bone loss.
- It is advised not to take in excessive amounts.
2. Tobacco and Alcohol
- Alcohol intake is known to increase the risk of fractures and also activate an inflammatory process in the joints which can further intensify the pain.
- Alcohol intake increases the risk factor for osteoporosis and shows a negative impact on bone health.
- Soda drinks or soft drinks make bones more porous and softer making the joints vulnerable to injuries and fractures.
- Consuming about one can of soda drink trigger an inflammatory response.
- Red meat is rich in saturated fats. Meat contains high levels of toxins called advanced glycation end products (AGEs).
- These AGEs toxins give rise to inflammation by damaging the proteins in our body which further triggers our body’s immune system and they are also known to cause tissue damage.
- When we consumed foods cooked at high temperatures, grilled or fried food, and pasteurized our bodies produce this toxin.
- Sugar and sweets in any form tend to trigger and release chemicals like cytokines which are responsible for initiating the inflammatory process.
- High intake of sugar, high risk of inflammation in our body and swelling of joints.
- Avoiding soft drinks, candies and pastries help to alleviate arthritic discomfort.
Gluten-containing foods such as beer, barley, bread, wheat, cakes and candies, cereals, wafers, cookies, pasta, hamburgers, etc. can also lead to joint inflammation. It causes inflammation of joints and the digestive system.
7. Vegetable oils
Foods high in omega-6-fats intensify symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Foods containing monosodium glutamate found in soya sauce affect the inflammation pathway and increases swelling in joints and throughout the body.
9. Fatty foods
Ultra-processed food, fast food, and fried food can cause inflammation.
- Refined carbs that have a high-glycemic index such as bread, crackers, white rice, and potatoes can get restored in our body in the absence of physical activity or exercises.
- This causes not only inflammation in our body but also results in weight gain, thereby increasing stress and pressure on joints.
Some factors that aid to alleviate joint pain are adequate and daily intake of water, following a Mediterranean or an anti-inflammatory diet, and proper sleep.
Eliminating certain foods such as processed foods, sugary foods, and food rich in fats and carbohydrate help in reducing the risk of arthritis and joint disease.
A healthy diet and lifestyle which include doing physical activities, avoiding alcohol and smoking, and body weight are key components to improve the overall quality of life.
Did you like our Article?
- Cleveland Clinic. Joint Pain.
- 2020 European Year for the prevention of pain
- Lyle B. Nutritional Strategies to Promote Muscle and Joint Health
- Harvard Health Publishing. Foods that fight inflammation
- National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS). Diet.
- Linus Pauling Institute or Oregon State University. Food and Beverages: Legumes
- Villa-Forte A. Joint Pain: Many Joints
- NHS. Joint pain
Our team of experts frequently monitors developments in the health and wellness field, and we update our articles when new information becomes available.
Aug, 01 2023