As the old saying goes, “you are what you eat”! Diet plays a crucial role in our overall health and wellbeing, and this is especially true for those managing chronic joint pain. In this article, our founder Dr. Robert Dean talks about the science behind how food impacts joint pain and shares one of his favorite meal plans that helps keep him on track without sacrificing flavor.
“There are two key components to explain how diet impacts joint pain,” says Dr. Dean. “First, and this one is obvious, your daily caloric intake impacts your weight, and weight gain can contribute to additional strain on your joints. So, it’s important to follow a diet that helps you maintain a healthy weight. Second, the types of food you choose can have either a positive or negative impact on inflammation. When inflammation increases, this can worsen existing joint pain.”
According to Dean, there are a variety of nutritious options available to create your own joint-friendly meal plan without sacrificing variety and flavor.
“Most people managing joint pain are at a point in their lives where they want to get the most out of life, which means they don’t want to sacrifice enjoying their meals,” says Dean. “The good news is that you don’t have to trade one for the other. In fact, once you adopt a new joint-healthy diet you may find that you are no longer craving the less healthy foods that you once enjoyed. You may also lose weight and gain other health benefits, like lower cholesterol.”
So, what does Dr. Dean specifically recommend for his patients with chronic joint pain who still want to enjoy delicious meals?
“First, it’s important to understand what ingredients are best for joint pain such as lean protein, fruits and veggies, olive oil, and fatty fish like salmon,” he says. “Then, you can build out daily meal plans with these ingredients to ensure you get enough flavor and variety to stick with it. And don’t forget that it is OK to indulge every once in a while, with treats like heart-healthy dark chocolate or a glass of red wine!”
According to Dean, it’s also important to consult with your doctor before making any major dietary changes to manage joint pain. “While there are generally accepted guidelines to follow, each patient is unique and should talk with their doctor before switching up their daily meal plan.”
Need a little inspiration to start building your joint pain management meal plan? Here’s one of Dr. Dean’s go-to daily routine that can help keep you feeling full and satisfied while helping to manage chronic joint pain:
Breakfast: Avocado toast made by smashing half an avocado on a toasted piece of whole-grain bread, drizzling lightly with olive oil, and sprinkling with turmeric. You can add an egg for a boost of protein and if you are adventurous, add some red pepper flakes!
Lunch: Greek Salmon Salad made with mixed greens, chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, kalamata olives, feta cheese, and chilled cooked salmon topped with a drizzle of olive oil, lemon, and spices.
Midday Snack: Hummus and Peppers. Mix up your veggies for variety and try different hummus flavors, too. Not a hummus fan? Go old school by dipping apple slices in almond butter.
Dinner: Lemon-Rosemary Chicken made with boneless, skinless breasts and seasoned with olive oil, lemon-pepper, and other seasonings, lemon and rosemary. Check out this recipe from the Arthritis Foundation, which is fast and easy to make.
With these joint-healthy meal plan tips, you can continue to enjoy filling and delicious meals while helping to maintain a healthy weight while reducing inflammation. Of course, don’t forget Dr. Dean’s earlier tip about indulging every once in a while, too!
While being conscious about your diet is a great way to manage your joint pain on your own, some people find that self-care is not the right long-term solution if the pain worsens over time. If you are living with knee, hip, shoulder, or other joint pain that isn’t improving, or if you have been told that total joint replacement surgery is your only option, AROmotion may be able to help. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation with Dr. Dean to see if you are a candidate for our non-surgical treatment that has helped more than 1,800 patients stop their joint pain fast.
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