Foods to Eat for Joint Health & Less Joint Pain

Grilled salmon with a side salad

You’ve heard the old saying, “You are what you eat.” While nutrition is a crucial part of a healthy lifestyle, it turns out that eating certain foods might be able to keep joint pain and inflammation at bay. Here are some foods that can help keep your joints healthy, and what foods you might try to avoid to prevent inflammation.

Foods to Eat for Healthy Joints

cherries

Cherries

These ruby-colored fruits offer a built-in bonus for those hoping to keep their joints healthy. They get their gorgeous hue from chemicals called anthocyanins, which studies have shown can reduce inflammation. Fresh cherries and tart cherry juice are the products you want to look for.

tropical and citrus fruits

Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits are loaded with vitamin C, which is part of your body’s collagen-production process. Collagen is an important part of cartilage, ligaments, and tendons, which help cushion your joints and keep everything in its proper place.

red and yellow bell peppers

Peppers

Whether you’re a fan of hot peppers or prefer the more mild taste of bell peppers, we’ve got some good news for you — their vitamin C and antioxidant content have anti-inflammatory effects that can help keep your joints happy.

raw salmon on ice

Fatty Fish

Omega-3 fatty acids can also lower inflammation in the body. An excellent source of omega-3 is fatty fish, such as mackerel, salmon, trout, and sardines.

walnut sliced in half

Other Omega-3 Rich Foods

If you’re looking for vegetarian or vegan sources of omega-3 fatty acids, there are plenty of options there as well. Walnuts, edamame, kidney beans, and ground flaxseed are all good options to add to your daily diet.

Bunches of kale

Dark Leafy Greens

Kale isn’t just a fad — like other dark leafy greens, kale is chock full of anti-inflammatory antioxidants that can help improve your overall joint health. Other greens work as well, such as bok choy and collard greens. Some of these are also good sources of calcium, which helps improve your bone health.

avocado sliced in half

Avocados

This delicious fruit is loaded with healthy fats, — and can help lower inflammation levels in the body.  

Foods to Avoid

If you’re looking to reduce joint pain and improve your joint health, you’ll also want to cross a few things off your shopping list. While it can be extremely difficult to eat a perfect anti-inflammatory diet 100 percent of the time, even taking steps to limit the following foods may make a big difference in your overall joint health.

Refined Carbohydrates

You’ll find carbohydrates in many foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables. When they’re highly processed or refined, though, that can lead to inflammation. Avoid white bread products, pastries, and other refined carbs as much as possible.

Fried Foods

Yes, frying anything makes it taste fantastic, but fried foods are typically loaded with unhealthy fats, and they can also increase your inflammation.

Sugar-Sweetened Beverages

Unsweet tea is fine, but sugary sodas, sweetened teas, and even sports drinks contain a lot of sugar.

Red Meat

If you love hamburgers or a really great steak, try to limit indulging to once every few weeks or so. You should also try to limit processed meats, such as sausage and hot dogs.

Eat For Your Joint Health

Your diet plays a pivotal role in your overall health, but with a few changes to your everyday diet, you can even reduce inflammation in your joints — and may discover a few new favorite foods in the process.