Researchers from the University of Catania in Italy added extra-virgin olive oil (or EVOO) to the diets of rats that had a joint injury. After eight weeks on the EVOO diet, those rats had significantly higher levels of lubricin, a protein in the synovial fluid that protects cartilage and serves as a lubricant, compared with animals fed a standard diet. Add EVOO to salad dressings, pastas, and vegetable sautés.
This cultured milk supplies an array of healthy bacteria, including one strain called L. casei. In one study, participants were given a daily dose of L. casei for two months. At the end of the study, they had lower levels of inflammatory markers and less joint stiffness than a placebo group. Pour kefir over cereal or add to smoothies. Unsweetened brands contain more bacteria and less sugar than sweetened versions.
In one study, subjects with osteoarthritic knee pain who took a daily orange-peel extract for eight weeks reported a drop in knee pain and had lower levels of an inflammatory compound than a placebo group. The effect was due to a bioflavonoid in citrus called nobiletin. When peeling, leave the white "fuzzy stuff" (albedo layer) on. Use whole oranges (peel and all) in smoothies to get maximum bioflavonoid content.
This fish is a stellar source of omega-3 fats. Studies with omega-3 supplementation show that this fat triggers a series of key reactions that lead to less joint inflammation, especially in those who suffer from arthritis. Research shows that people taking daily fish-oil supplements can typically decrease their use of NSAID drugs, such as ibuprofen. Fresh is great, but canned varieties are just as rich in omegas.
In a study on people with osteoarthritic knee pain, taking a turmeric extract for six weeks helped minimize discomfort as much as taking 800 mg daily of ibuprofen. That's because turmeric is rich in a potent antioxidant called curcumin that can decrease the amount of inflammatory compounds in cartilage cells. Add turmeric to rice, beans, stir-frys, and salad dressings for a color and joint boost.
The article "Joint Food" originally ran on Runnersworld.com