We often don’t think about our joints, tendons or ligaments until there is something wrong. Stiffness. Inflammation. Arthritis. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Maybe we ran for too long on hard concrete or engaged in physically intense exercise. Maybe it was all the texting and emailing we do from our handheld devices. Or maybe it was just the normal wear and tear that happens as we age. No matter what the reason if we don’t take care of our joints we will encounter some pain or condition. But it doesn’t have to be that way! There are things we can do on a day to day basis that will strengthen and protect our fingers, knees, wrists etc. I for one am not going to give up my 5-inch heels! :)
Everything we put in our bodies affects our energy levels and every cell in our bodies including our muscles, joints and bones. Eating clean helps ease soreness and speeds healing in addition to supporting joint health and overall body wellness. Let’s not forget that in addition to healthy eating, we must hydrate! Our skin, muscles etc benefit from plenty of water.
Let’s start with spices. Spices make foods taste good. But they can also be healing.
Curry – contains turmeric which has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties
Ginger – reduces inflammation, joint pain and swelling
Foods rich in Omega 3 fatty acids are important because they reduce swelling and protect our joints and body from infllammation.
Wild salmon – fresh or canned salmon which typically comes from wild fish and are a good low cost option
Flaxseeds (oil), walnuts and green vegetables like brussel sprouts and spinach
Foods rich in antioxidants, vitamins A, C, E and the mineral Selenium, reduce inflammation and can ease joint discomfort.
Vitamin A - carrots, sweet potatoes, kale, swiss chards, spinach and collard greens are good starting points
Vitamin E - sunflower seeds, almonds, avocados, asparagus and green leafy veggies
Vitamin C - papayas, broccoli, bell peppers, grapefruits, oranges, pineapples, raspberries and tomatoes
Selenium - tuna, shrimp, sardines, salmon, turkey, grass fed meats, cremini and shiitake mushrooms, barley and brown rice
Black Beans are nutrient rich, an excellent source of protein and fiber as well as antioxidants.
Kale is such a nutrient rich food that it needs to be on this list. It is high in calcium and magnesium; more so than any dairy products. The tons of vitamins and minerals that it contains protect joints and its antioxidants reduce inflammation.
The more foods you eat that are nutrient and antioxidant rich the more you will help your body renew itself. The foods we eat become our cells. The antioxidants and omega 3 fatty acids reduce inflammation helping to protect our joints. This is a lot of information but what is most important to keep in mind is that it doesn’t eating for health doesn’t have to a chore. Start by adding one or two of these foods to your lunch or dinner, experiment and don’t give up! Healthy habits take time to become a part of our lives. With a little patience your efforts will be rewarded with vibrant health, abundant energy and a great sense of well-being.
Black Bean Soup
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 ¼ c organic yellow onion, diced
4 large organic garlic cloves, pressed or minced
1 tsp organic jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
4 c organic vegetable stock or purified water
2 cans organic black beans, rinsed and drained well or 3 cups cooked
¾ c organic carrots, diced
½ c organic red bell pepper, seeded and diced
½ tsp organic orange zest
¼ c organic orange juice, freshly squeezed
2 tsp Himalayan sea salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper
2 tbsp organic cilantro, finely chopped
1 tbsp organic coconut oil
⅛ tsp chipotle powder (optional)
⅛ tsp ground cloves (optional)
Place a 3-quart pot over high heat. Add the organic coconut oil, cumin, chili powder and cook for 1 minute. Add the garlic, onion, jalapeno and stir well. Lower the heat to medium-high, add the vegetable stock, black beans and carrots and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the red bell pepper and cook for 5 minutes. Add all the remaining ingredients, except the cilantro and cook for 5 minutes. Add the cilantro and mix well.
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