Joint pain is a direct sign of inflammation, and while it’s so easy to just pop an acetaminophen or ibuprofen and move on, we need to consider that this isn’t normal. Inflammation is actually a gift from your body because it’s trying to protect you and tell you something is wrong. When the body senses danger in any form inflammation will result. Whether it’s from external or internal problems, inflammation means your immune system is kicking in and trying to protect you. Consistent joint pain isn’t normal despite that society accepts it is and isn’t something we need to consistently take a medication for. It’s more important to address the root cause of the joint pain that leads to inflammation which is very easy to do with some simple changes.
Prevention is always the best medicine, but sometimes joint pain can come after a workout, after working long hours on a job, or perhaps not fueling our bodies properly after exercise or lots of activity. If this is the case for you, or if you have chronic joint pain associated with arthritis, here are some healthier options you can choose to reduce joint pain instead over the counter drugs which can damage the liver, are acidic to the body and may cause other problems later on.
1. Add Anti-inflammatory Spices to Most of Your Meals
Cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, oregano, garlic, parsley and cilantro are all full of anti-inflammatory benefits. They reduce acidity in the body and directly support immune health which can assist with joint health. They also enhance blood circulation which can help with muscle cramps because they enhance blood flow throughout the body. Add cinnamon to a smoothie or oatmeal, ginger to tea and stir-fries, turmeric to roasted sweet potatoes or a nice soup, oregano and garlic to your salads or dinner entrees, and try using parsley and cilantro in juices, smoothies, salads, soups and in dinner recipes more often.
2. Try a Morning “Shot”
Healthy morning alkaline “shots” as we’ll call them, are full of anti-inflammatory ingredients and can be taken first thing in the day or after a workout. You can also try them out when you’re just having a little nagging muscle pain for quick relief that’s surprisingly more effective than most chemical options. These “shots” also make fantastic prevention remedies to include in your regular healthy lifestyle routine.
3. Emphasize More Raw Foods at Each Meal
No need to go all raw, but if you can, add more raw foods to your day. Cooked vegetables are full of healthy properties and many are easier to digest this way, but cooked foods are naturally acidic. So, a good rule of thumb is to simply add more alkaline raw foods to your day. Enjoy some fresh greens in a smoothie, a little pineapple with your breakfast (the best anti-inflammatory fruit of all), and include fresh greens, herbs, or veggies at lunch and dinner instead of cooking all of them every time.
Also, don’t forget anti-inflammatory raw foods that are good sources of fat, such as chia seeds, flax seed, raw almonds, walnuts and pumpkin seeds. These are especially helpful due to their specific fatty acid profile and they include minerals needed for optimal muscle and joint health. Even cacao which many consider acidic is actually full of alkaline minerals including magnesium and potassium, so opt for raw cacao nibs over processed chocolate.
4. Ditch all The Caffeine and Sugar
If you’re looking to reduce your caffeine, start with eliminating soda first. It’s the worst offender of all, along with toxic energy drinks that have chemicals and artificial sweeteners. Next, tackle your coffee. You don’t have to give it up, but reduce it by half. You might also try a low acid coffee to help even further, or try roasted cocoa beans instead of coffee. And of course, nothing is better for you than green tea in place of coffee, so give that a try to reduce inflammation further.
Now, let’s chat about sugar: you also need to part ways with sugar and say hello to nature’s sweet foods instead: fruit and green leaf stevia or pure liquid stevia are the best options here. Sugar is the most inflammatory food out there, along with refined grains (which turn to sugar in the body). Be sure you keep these seven foods on hand when those sugar cravings hit too!
5. Drink More Water and Water-Rich Smoothies
Dehydration can cause joint pain, not to mention it makes the body acidic and puts a lot of strain on the muscles, blood and other organs. This can not only cause inflammation but also food cravings, mineral loss and much more. Dehydration that leads to mineral loss directly leaches calcium and magnesium from your body which will directly cause joint pain because both of these minerals help reduce inflammation and care for your muscles. You can also add in a smoothie to your day full of water-rich produce and try to use water of place of nut milks and juice. Any extra water intake counts, so drink up and say cheers to less pain with every sip!
You might also like to see some other tips on relieving inflammation, and then be sure to check out this helpful anti-inflammatory foods check list for ease of use. Spend your money on real foods, not chemicals, and your body will thank you for years to come.
Lead image source: German Chocolate Chia Porridge