10 Nutritious Foods For Rebuilding Cartilage & Promoting Healthy Joints
Cartilage is the “cushion” that protects your joints and bones when you move. However, in seniors, and those with osteoarthritis, cartilage can wear down over time, causing pain and discomfort.
For anyone experiencing this, the first port of call should always be your doctor. They will likely recommend significant lifestyle changes, including the consumption of foods that are great for rebuilding cartilage and maintaining healthy, strong joints.
The types of food and nutrition key to healthy cartilage vary. After consulting with medical professionals, we present our complete guide to foods that help rebuild cartilage and cultivate healthy joints.
In This Article
What Is Cartilage and Why Does it Wear Down?
Your joints have “cushioning,” which allows them to move quickly and smoothly. This “cushioning” is what is known as cartilage.
As you use your joints over your life and start to age, cartilage encounters many things that can cause it to decay and wear down. This includes walking, exercising, and any other type of physical movement.
These actions can take a toll on cartilage, which can begin to degenerate to the point of causing pain. Once this process begins, joints start to swell, chronic inflammation occurs, and osteoarthritis develops.
Also known as degenerative joint disease, osteoarthritis represents the most common form of arthritis, affecting millions of people worldwide.
10 Foods That Help Rebuild Cartilage
Although osteoarthritis is more often than not associated with old age, cartilage degenerates in everyone to different degrees. So, no matter your age or condition, eating nutritious foods that can protect, maintain, replenish, and repair your cartilage – ensuring you a pain-free life.
Here’s what you ought to consider adding to your diet for healthy joints:
1. Dairy (Especially Yogurt)
Yogurt and kefir are considered real superfoods when it comes to reducing the damage of joint inflammation.
Primarily, this type of dairy has a considerable role in ensuring the good health of your gut, reducing overall inflammation, and promoting cartilage repair. This is due to the high content of probiotics (good bacteria) found within it.
2. Brown Rice
Have you ever heard of hyaluronic acid?
It is a natural substance that acts as a lubricant and shock-absorber for our joints. Hyaluronic acid is so effective that it is used in treatment for a lot of joint-related conditions.
Brown rice represents a great source of hyaluronic acid, making it an excellent choice of food for protecting and rebuilding cartilage.
3. Bone broth
While not the most popular Western dish, bone broth is packed full of collagen and proteins perfect for joint health.
It’s versatile too! You can either drink it up like tea, or you can use it as a base for various recipes.
Dark, sweet berries are often overlooked when it comes to searching for helpful superfoods.
However, blueberries pack quite a lot of good in their tiny package, including an abundance of polyphenols and vitamin C.
Polyphenols are used as painkillers for joint pains. Vitamin C, on the other hand, is a crucial requirement for collagen production, the primary substance used by the body in building cartilage.
5. Fish (Especially Sardines)
Another overlooked source of nutrients for cartilage is the tiny sardine.
This meat of this type of fish is filled with Omega-3, Vitamin D, and Calcium; basically, all the necessary ingredients for fighting joint inflammation.
We know that not everyone likes sardines, but there are many suitable alternatives out there. For example, salmon is just as great an option!
Granted, turmeric is a spice rather than a food. However, it is still a cartilage repairing ingredient worth introducing to your diet.
Why? Turmeric contains the strong anti-inflammatory, curcumin, that has been scientifically proven to be effective at preventing joint inflammation.
While we definitely don’t suggest eating spoonfuls of turmeric, it might be worth including it in your next curry!
We already established that hyaluronic acid is crucial for those suffering from joint pains, and nuts are full of it.
In addition, nuts are excellent deposits of magnesium. Magnesium allows your body to extract as much hyaluronic acid as possible from the food you eat – making nuts a doubly great choice.
Another huge perk of adding more nuts to your diet is their wide variety. You can consume anything from sesame seeds to almonds to help regenerate cartilage.
8. Leafy and Dark Green Vegetables
For example, broccoli, spinach, and parsley all contain effective antioxidants called carotenoids.
Besides the high levels of magnesium and calcium found in green veggies, carotenoids significantly reduce the rate of cartilage degradation.
While broccoli and brussel sprouts may not be everyone’s favorite foods, they also contain lots of Vitamin K. Another vitamin which is essential in keeping your bones and joints in good health.
9. Green Tea
When have you ever seen a list of food without green tea on it? Ours is no exception.
Green tea has been proven to help with osteoarthritis as it contains the previously mentioned polyphenols and catechins that help in restoring and protecting cartilage.
Integrating green tea inside your diet should be an easy job, thanks to its great taste, low price, and availability.
Plums and prunes, like blueberries, pack high concentrations of Vitamin K, Magnesium, and Potassium. They are proven to help prevent cartilage damage and promote its repair.
Important Nutrients for Joint Health
While we have listed 10 great foods for cartilage repair, the reason these foods are so effective is because of the nutrients they contain. So, to help you find more foods that are perfect for your joint health, here are the key compounds you should be looking out for:
Fruit consumption linked with vitamin C intake has shown great benefits for those with osteoarthritis. Dietary antioxidants can significantly reduce the risk of cartilage degeneration.
Polyphenols, the compounds that we find in green tea and blueberries, have excellent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. They can help rebuild cartilage, and over time, they significantly reduce the risk of developing chronic osteoarthritis.
3. Omega-3 oils
The science confirms that omega-3 (found in fish and nuts) comes with a range of clear benefits in reducing the effect of osteoarthritis and rebuilding lost cartilage.
Protecting Your Cartilage
Osteoarthritis is a condition that affects millions of people across the globe. But there are ways, and foods, to protect against it and rebuild cartilage.
It’s important to reiterate that cartilage wear happens naturally, and you can never entirely stop it. However, by making sure you keep a healthy lifestyle, you will have a higher chance of avoiding cartilage day and promoting cartilage repair.
A great way of protecting your joint is to eat clean foods like the ones we listed. By eating healthier, you might also lose weight, which adds another layer of protection against joint pain and the decay of cartilage.
Reducing the risk of osteoarthritis and rebuilding cartilage is a surmountable task, if you are open to certain healthy habits.
By introducing certain healthy foods into your diet, including vegetables, fruits and fish listed above that contain essential vitamins and antioxidants, you can keep your body active and help to rebuild cartilage and prevent its degradation.