Are Antioxidants the Key to Improving Joint Health?
Improving joint health doesn’t happen overnight. While it should be a proactive rather than strictly reactive plan, aching joints can really sneak up on you! When joint pain begins to keep you from enjoying the things that you love to do, whether that’s running, biking, or gardening, it’s time to take action.
A variety of factors contribute to poor joint health, including arthritis, obesity, injuries, and the body’s aging process. It is an extremely common problem for men and women of all ages. While there are a variety of treatment options available for joint pain, many people are seeking natural remedies. Some research suggests that antioxidants may hold the key to promoting healthy, pain-free joints, and here’s why.
The Link between Pomegranate Juice and Joint Health
A recent study published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture shows a promising link between the consumption of pomegranate juice and improved joint health. After six weeks of drinking pomegranate juice, participants reported a significant decrease in their joint pain and discomfort. This was measured with the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis index (WOMAC) total score, stiffness score, and physical function score. In other words, joint pain and discomfort greatly decreased after six weeks of “pomegranate therapy.”
Why is pomegranate juice so good at improving joint health? It has powerful antioxidant properties, which, as this study has concluded, can help to reduce joint inflammation and even minimize the breakdown of cartilage, the tissue that cushions and protects joints.
Tips for Improving Joint Health
So does this mean that pomegranates and a glass of wine are the total cure for all joint pain? Not exactly, but the evidence is strong in favor of improving joint health. Adding pomegranate juice to your diet certainly can’t hurt, as antioxidants are extremely beneficial for your entire body, including your joints. But taking a more comprehensive approach to your joint health may yield the most effective results.
Other superfoods that are high in antioxidants include:
- Dark chocolate (lucky for you)
- Goji Berries
- Red Cabbage
Wherever your diet falls short, you can always add in a supplement as well! Glutathione is considered the body’s master antioxidant. Many people who have taken this supplement for improving joint pain, including arthritis pain, saw results quickly with little to no side effects.
Diet isn’t everything! These lifestyle changes, teamed with some added pomegranate or antioxidant power, could have a huge impact on your joints and your entire body:
- Get moving. While exercising may be the last thing you feel like doing when your joints are aching, it is actually one of the best things you can do to strengthen and protect your joints. Walking, swimming, cycling, and yoga are excellent exercises for your joints because they help to build muscle and improve flexibility without putting excessive strain on your body (Harvard Health Publications).
- Change your diet. Pomegranates aren’t the only joint superfoods available. Because the number-one contributor to joint pain is inflammation, stocking up on salmon, flaxseed, and walnuts, which are rich in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, can also pack a punch (Journal of the American College of Nutrition).
- Supplement your nutrition. Adding appropriate supplements to your diet can help to boost your joint health as well. Glucosamine, glutathione, turmeric, and ginger extract are among the most popular supplements for arthritis and joint pain, as these may have both analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties (Arthritis and Rheumatism, Arthritis Foundation, University of Maryland Medical Center).
Take Control of Your Health
Joint pain doesn’t have to define you when it comes to your health and fitness. By making lifestyle changes, you take control of your health and get back to enjoying the activities that you love doing. Increased exercise and healthier eating habits really can go a long way to improve your overall health and physical condition.
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