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What Can You Eat to Strengthen Joints?

By Crystal Welch

A variety of foods are available to improve your joint health and functioning. Eating a well-balanced diet with foods from each food group will supply your body with a well-rounded nutrient base, which helps lower inflammation and reduce joint ailments such as pain and inflammation. Check with your doctor first.

Fatty Fish

Eating fatty fish such as salmon, halibut, tuna, herring, sardines can improve your joint functioning while easing arthritis symptoms. Fatty fish contain large amounts of the bone-healthy nutrients known as omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 helps lower inflammation levels throughout the body by curbing an overactive immune response that causes tissue degradation, making moving joints easier and less painful. Omega-3s also hinder the joint degeneration process, according to the Arthritis Foundation. Eating sufficient amounts of omega-3s can also decrease your reliance upon anti-inflammatory medications.


Dairy foods contain large amounts of the joint-friendly nutrient calcium. When your body lacks calcium, it extracts needed amounts from your bones. Calcium helps prevent bone loss, builds new bone and preserves the bone mass you currently have, according to American Bone Health. Improve your joint functioning and health by eating a variety of calcium-rich dairy foods including low or nonfat milk; soft cheeses such as cottage, cream and ricotta; hard cheeses such as Parmesan, cheddar and Colby; plain low or nonfat yogurt and low-fat ice cream.

Whole Grains

Start eating more whole grains, a fiber-rich food, to improve your joints. Fiber helps lower levels of a harmful substance known as c-reactive protein that leads to higher inflammation levels throughout the body, including the joints, according to the Arthritis Foundation. Whole grains include oats, whole wheat, bran varieties, barley, quinoa, triticale and kamut.

Orange Fruits

Brightly colored fruits make up another category of foods you need to eat to improve your joints. The brighter the color, the higher the level of beta-carotene. Beta carotene, a form of vitamin A, helps reduce inflammation throughout the body, according to American Bone Health. Fruit also contains large amounts of the antioxidant vitamin C, another nutrient known for fighting bone loss, and supplies joint-healthy dietary fiber. Include a variety of brightly-colored fruits such as cantaloupe, oranges, mangoes and papayas in your meal plan to help your joints.

Dark Green Vegetables

Brightly-colored dark green vegetables not only make your meal more eye-appealing, but also improve your joint health. Colorful vegetables contain large amounts of beneficial vitamin C and A, both antioxidants that help fight inflammation throughout your body. Vegetables also contain dietary fiber, which not only naturally fills you up, but also lowers joint inflammation levels. Vegetables can contain rich amounts of vitamin K, a bone-healthy nutrient that helps bones grow and develop, according to American Bone Health. Diets lacking in vitamin K can increase bone loss and risks of fractures. Choose from a variety of vegetables such as broccoli, kale, collards, Brussels sprouts, lettuce varieties, endive and spinach.

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