Help me change my (already healthy) diet - for better joint health
June 26, 2014 12:51 PM   Subscribe

I eat pretty well, but I eat mostly the same stuff every day. Recently, my joints have started cracking a bit, and I'm wondering if mixing up my diet would help bring different nutrients to the body's hard workin' part. I'm 40, male, physically active, and am usually pursuing some kind of bodywork or therapy like Active Release Technique to keep everything cooperating. I have pretty good nutrition, but I want to mix it up. I'm open to supplements, too, but lean towards evidence-based suggestions that won't break the bank.

I'm sure you're excited to read my typical meals:

* Three scrambled eggs, discard one yolk, in a corn tortilla
* Green tea
* Almonds
* Fruit
* Small piece of dark chocolate

* Large Green salad with sliced turkey, rice crackers and almonds
* Yogurt with fruit and shredded coconut

* Chicken sausage or fish
* Sweet potato or quinoa
* Steamed broccoli
* Fruit

* Mainly Larabars, fruit, dark chocolate (lots of this)

Junk food and other things to avoid
* No soda, limited alcohol, no red meat. I try to minimize refined sugar, gluten, and grains. I'm good, but not religious about it.

* Meat and dairy almost always organic.
* Olive oil for most everything, not butter.
* Coconut cream!
* Supplement with B12 and Fish oil.

My diet is reasonably close to the Four Hour Body "Slow Carb" plan, though I do love my fruit.

Suggestions for mixing it up with a focus on joint health?
posted by 4midori to Food & Drink (4 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Despite avoiding refined sugar, your sugar intake is pretty high with so much fruit and Larabars. Sugar is inflammatory. Reducing it may improve your joint health.
posted by telegraph at 1:00 PM on June 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

That is a lot of sugar, especially the Larabars and chocolate. I would cut those out and significantly increase the fat (keep that third yolk, lose the tortilla; add fatty fish, like salmon, to the salad). There is evidence that certain fats benefit joint health, but you may need several grams a day to benefit. Fish oil tablets are good but probably still best to eat the whole food. Vitamin D, as well, is starting to emerge in research as affecting a number of key biological processes, so you might add that to your vitamin regimen.
posted by Atrahasis at 1:54 PM on June 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

There is evidence that certain fats benefit joint health rheumatoid arthritis

I have had a slew of various lousy joint problems for a few years now and have never been able to find any good evidence that there are any dietary hacks for general joint health. If you have a specific diagnosed joint condition it may or may not have a thing you can do, edibles-wise, but I don't think there's a good answer to "what can I eat for creaky old knees." What helps arthritics can be useless for bursitics and vice versa.

For what anecdata is worth, I have seen two GPs, a sports medicine specialist, an orthopaedist, a rheumatologist, and possibly yet another professional I'm forgetting, and not one has suggested any sort of dietary modification or supplement, unless you count grass, and that was as a palliative, not a preventative.
posted by kmennie at 2:32 PM on June 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

I'm not entirely sure this isn't placebo effect, but I had been nursing a joint injury for months before trying collagen supplements, mostly convinced by the reviews I read online. In about two or three weeks, my injury was well enough to work on strength again, instead of babying it along. All my joints seem a bit better, in fact.
posted by instamatic at 8:04 PM on June 26, 2014

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