Eat Your Way to Better Joint Health This Winter

Cold weather can increase the joint pain you feel, making it difficult to move around, which in turn increases stiffness and inflammation. The result? More joint pain — causing a vicious cycle that can last until warmer weather.

How can you help manage pain caused by age-related muscular, cartilage, and bone degeneration? Adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet rich in various anti-inflammatory foods can help minimize inflammation, swelling, and joint pain, leaving you more mobile through the winter months.

When combined with a sensible overall nutrition program and paired with an activity plan that keeps you moving, these foods can help you feel better all winter long. A proper caloric diet can also help you lose a little weight, relieving pressure on your joints and decreasing pain levels.

What are the secrets behind these winter meal additions? They are full of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals to keep your cartilage and bones strong ,and inflammatory responses to a minimum. 

CRUCIFEROUS VEGETABLES

Cruciferous vegetables have an abundance of health benefits and can improve the strength and health of your cartilage, increasing joint health. They include:

  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Kale
  • Bok choy
  • Garden cress

Don’t go “ugh” – there is almost always a way to hide these foods in others if you really can’t stand them. 

  • Tip: Try pureeing and mixing into spaghetti or lasagna sauce. Add some wholesome olive oil infused with garlic and thyme for an added boost of wholesome goodness.

TURMERIC

A bowl of thick, steaming soup hits the spot on a cold day. Try brightly colored vegetables like butternut or acorn squash, and use a heavy hand with the turmeric for lowered inflammatory response.  

  • Tip: Turmeric is also great as a spice for highly flavorful vegetable stews and even meats.

FRUITS AND NUTS

Berries, grapes and cherries paired with walnuts make the ideal quick snack or topping if you’re suffering from unrequited sweet tooth. Toss a few in your oatmeal, strew them on top of banana pancakes, or bake them in a whole grain quick bread joined by canned pumpkin, shredded zucchini, or applesauce. They go perfectly on French toast or scones with some plain whipped cream, adding that kick of color and sweetness without processed syrups. 

  • Tip: You can also mix tart cherry juice into any drink to create an anti-inflammatory beverage.

SALMON

Fresh salmon can provide health benefits you don’t get from other protein sources, and even canned salmon will do in a pinch. Grill, bake, or form into patties to take advantage of the anti-inflammatory properties. 

  • Tip: mix with bread crumbs, salt, pepper, and a little egg and stuff into red peppers before baking for a delicious way to achieve added positive impact. 

Adding just three or four new anti-inflammatory foods to your winter recipe book can decrease swelling and pain during the winter months. 

If you have been experiencing severe joint pain that keeps you from doing what you want to do when it’s cold, call our Lincoln, Nebraska, orthopaedics office for an appointment with Dr. Scott Strasburger.

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