Winter is here, and let’s just say it is already bone-chilling. It can be particularly difficult for those who suffer from stiff joints or have joint pain. This time of the year can exacerbate their troubles, making them struggle through the season. While massaging the joints and doing appropriate physical exercises is a good idea, it is also important to focus on your diet. Yes, like always, you must pay attention to the food you consume! This time around, we are going to tell you about certain foods that you must eliminate from your diet, in case you face any such issues.
To understand this better, HealthShots contacted Avni Kaul, Nutritionist, Dietitian, Wellness Coach, and Founder of Nutri Activania. Here’s what she has to say, “For people who face joint pain or joint stiffness, winter is time to take special diet precautions and fitness measures. There are certain foods that may trigger muscle inflammation, weaken tissue connectivity and trigger joint pain.”
Here are certain foods to avoid when you have stiff joints:
1. Limit salt intake
You must be mindful about your salt intake. According to the Arthritis Foundation, lowering salt intake can help reduce calcium loss in the body, thereby reducing osteoporosis and fracture risk. Salt also causes fluid retention that can trigger tissue swelling, and hence joint pain.
2. Restrict sugary foods
“People suffering from joint pain and stiffness should try to restrict their intake of bakery items, cola, sweets, artificial juice, and other foods with added sugar. A spike in sugar levels in the body can worsen the condition of rheumatoid arthritis, and trigger tissue inflammation and joint pain,” explains Kaul.
3. Reduce consumption of red meat
Red meat like mutton, goat meat, lamb and others contain high levels of saturated fat and Omega-6 fatty acids. Both are directly linked with inflammation in the body, and trigger joint stiffness, pain and can worsen the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
“Gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat, rye, and barley. There are a certain number of people who suffer from gluten allergies; not many know that gluten triggers inflammation in their body. Such people should avoid gluten food to keep their joint pain in check,” says Kaul.
And are there foods that can help improve stiff joints?
Kaul has a few suggestions:
1. Nuts and seeds
“Nuts and seeds like walnuts, almonds, flax seeds and chia seeds are excellent sources of Omega-3 fatty acids, which is an essential nutrient to reduce inflammation in the joints and connective tissue. They also improve brain function and lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes and other illnesses,” shares Kaul with HealthShots.
2. Coldwater fish
If you are a non-vegetarian and comfortable having fish, then winter is the perfect season to have tuna, salmon, trout, and sardines that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. People suffering from severe joint pain can consult their doctors, and take fish oil supplements to absorb omega-3s.
Add a little extra garlic, ginger and turmeric to your diet
“During the winter season, add a little extra garlic, onion, ginger and turmeric to your meals. These root vegetables have anti-inflammatory properties, and can be useful in treating symptoms of arthritis and other joint pain,” adds Kaul.
Sugar-free dark chocolate
Cocoa, the main ingredient in chocolate, has anti-inflammatory properties and contains antioxidants. The higher the percentage of cocoa in the chocolate, the higher its anti-inflammatory effect. But remember, even the best dark chocolate commonly has some sugar and fat. So, enjoy it in moderation and consult your nutritionist or doctor first, before having it.