The knee is the largest and most complicated joint in the human body, comprised of a number of ligaments and muscles. Connecting the two longest mechanical levers in the body, the thigh and the lower leg, forces are always acting on the knee joint. While the large thigh muscles give the knee strength and mobility it is the ligaments that surround the knee that provide the most stability.
Not only does the knee joint bear the weight of the upper body but it also absorbs the shock when we walk or run. In addition, there is no part of the skeleton, unlike the hip joint, that protects the knee joint.
It is actually not surprising that millions of people are impacted daily by knee pain. Pain can range from a slight annoyance to full-blown disability in some people. Here are SIX best foods you can eat that helps ease knee pain naturally.
Eat soy protein
People with knee pain reported less discomfort and used fewer pain meds after eating soy protein every day for three months, according to Oklahoma State University research.
Soy is rich in isoflavones, plant hormones with anti-inflammatory properties. Study participants consumed a powdered soy drink mix that contained 40 grams of protein, but, says study author Bahram H. Arjmandi, PhD, you can get the same benefit from sources like flavoured soy milk, edamame (baby soybeans), and soy burgers.
A study found that some people suffering from arthritis had reduced pain after using willow bark. Willow bark is often used to remedy fever, pain, and inflammation. Do not use willow bark if you are allergic to aspirin or are taking blood thinners.
In a study of 293 Australian adults, eating plenty of fruit reduced the risk of developing bone marrow lesions: a marker for worsening knee osteoarthritis and pain.
The knee-friendliest fruits appear to be vitamin C-packed ones, like kiwi, carrot, orange, mango, grapefruit, and papaya. The researchers suspect it’s the vitamin C in fruit that protects the knee joint and supporting structures.
Many studies have found that fish and fish oil ease the joint pain and stiffness of rheumatoid arthritis. Now a study shows that the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish may block not only the chemicals that cause inflammation in osteoarthritis but also the proteins known to wear down knee cartilage.
Eat two servings of oily fish (such as mackerel or salmon) weekly or take one gram of omega-3s in capsule form every day, says nutrition researcher Artemis P. Simopoulos, MD.
Ginger is an ancient anti-inflammatory spice that has been used therapeutically for thousands of years.
In addition to its antioxidant activities, ginger also has anti-ulcer, antioxidant and analgesic properties. You won’t get the benefit from ginger eating foods like gingerbread, ginger tea, and gingersnaps because they don’t contain enough ginger to be effective. The best way to get enough ginger is to take a capsule twice a day.
As with any supplement, be sure to check with your physician before taking ginger. Start out with a smaller dose and work up from there. Be careful if you are taking blood thinners, ginger can have an effect on this.
There are a number of herbs and spices as well as other supplements that can help reduce inflammation and help with healing from injuries or degenerative diseases. Here are some of the best supplements to choose from:
- Black pepper
- Bone broth or bone protein
- Collagen protein
- Omega-3 fatty acids
People who have knee pain should avoid wearing sandals, high heels, boots, boat shoes or Crocs. Because these types of shoes are lacking good support, they can aggravate not only knee pain but also back and hip pain.
If your knee pain seems to be related to exercise it would be wise to go speak with a specialist to get the best shoe for your exercise – especially if you are running. Some people find relief with speciality insoles.