Top 8 Foods for Joint Health

Raw salmon with sea salt tomatoes and olive oil.

Use'em or lose'em! The best way to keep your joints and bones healthy is to work them daily. Do some light exercise, walking or resistance training to strengthen not only your muscles, but your joints, as well. In addition, these foods help keep joints lubricated while preventing inflammation.

1. Wild salmon

Salmon is a great source of one of nature’s best anti-inflammatory compounds: omega-3 fatty acids. Choose wild salmon; farmed varieties have fewer to no omega-3s. Wild salmon also contains fewer contaminants and toxins. It is also a source of Vitamin D, necessary for healthy joints and bones.

2. Almonds

Almonds are a rich source of vitamin E, which protects the outer membrane of joint cells. This makes it a first-line defender against free radical damage. (Sunflower seeds are also high in Vitamin E.)

3. Papaya

Papaya is high in Vitamin C, which was shown in studies to reduce the development of rheumatoid arthritis. Papayas have almost twice as much C, plus a hefty dose of beta carotene, another good antioxidant for joint health.

4. Apples

Collagen breakdown is often a critical step in osteoarthritis development. Apples can help keep arthritis at bay. It’s rich in quercetin, an antioxidant that’s important in building collagen and slowing its deterioration. Do not peel the apple! Quercetin is concentrated in the skin.

5. Black Beans

Amino acids found in protein are the building blocks of cells, including cartilage. All beans contain protein; however, black beans also have other joint-boosting compounds, including antioxidants and manganese.

6. Kale

Most of us think of milk and other dairy products as the best way to get more calcium into out diets, but kale is loaded with the mineral, too! It actually contains more absorbable calcium than milk. Kale is also a superstar for bone health due to its joint-protecting vitamins A, C and K; and packed with two minerals that joints need to stay robust: copper, which helps build collagen and ligaments, the tissue strands that connect bones to one another AND manganese, which activates enzymes needed for tissue growth and repair.

7. Broccoli

Sulforaphane, a phytochemical, is the superstar in broccoli. However, this superfood contains other vitamins that keep joints well nourished, including vitamins A and C, a little E and K – not to mention lots of calcium and some protein.

8. Ginger

Along with helping soothe the stomach, ginger has been used in Asia for centuries to reduce joint pain and swelling. Thanks in large part to compounds called gingerols, the spice has much the same effect as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications.

Registered Dietitian

Comment by onlyemma
September 04, 2015
is it better for you with the skin on than off?
Comment by charylmd
August 30, 2015
I only have ginger in a spice. How do you measure it in that form? Same with the Turmeric.
Comment by dar4him2
April 28, 2014
Thank you for this very informative article. One of the main reasons I LOVE my NutriBlasts is because they are making me healthier! Everyday I feel like I am doing something to help myself live longer and to be better able to be active. I have osteoarthritis and have also had both hips replaced, as well as a shoulder. Anything I can do to keep my joints healthier is at the top of my list!! Q: Regarding Ginger. HOW do you use it? Cut off a piece and add it while cooking? Mill it so it can be added to a Blast (is it necessary to Mill it first)?
Reply by Yellow
May 04, 2014
I have only used fresh Ginger in my smoothies. I cut a piece about the size of a nickel and drop it in. Much more and the flavor can overwhelm. Turmeric is very similar but wont overwhelm the flavor, and is great for inflammation. I find it best to cut across the fibers so you end up with coin shaped pieces, otherwise it can be stringy and stick to the blade.
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