11 Tips for Eating Right to Support Your Joints

Small changes to your eating habits can make a huge impact on your health and well-being. Use these simple tips to make healthy eating choices that helps you to achieve or maintain a healthy weight and protect your joints. 

1. Picture portion sizes
Eating proper portions is key to weight management and, in turn, lightening the load on your joints. Here are some visual clues that may help: One serving of meat – 3 ounces – is the size of the palm of your hand; one serving of dairy – say 2 ounces of cheese – is the size of a pair of dominoes; one serving of vegetables – 1 cup – is the size of your fist.
2. Build Strong Bones
Boost your calcium intake, because a diet rich in this important mineral helps to keep your bones sturdy and can lower your risk of osteoporosis (the brittle bone disease). There are plenty of sources besides milk, including collard greens, broccoli, kale, figs, butternut squash, soybeans, sardines, almonds and calcium supplements.   
3. Ditch the Drive-thru
Avoid eating at fast food restaurants. But if you must, try to make the healthiest choices. Opt for grilled meat instead of fried meat. Add lettuce and tomato to your sandwich. Hold the mayo. Choose a side salad over French fries. Drink water or juice instead of soft drinks.
4. Pick, Pour or Peel
If you are looking for a tasty treat, reach for an orange – or a tall glass of orange juice. Why? Recent research suggests that vitamin C may help reduce the risk of developing osteoarthritis.
5. Add color to your diet
Choose fruits and veggies in a wide range of color to get maximum nutrients, such as fiber, disease-fighting antioxidants and an abundance of phytochemicals. They are essential parts of an anti-inflammatory diet.
6. Hang out at the bar
Eating the veggies typically found in a plain tossed salad from a salad bar – romaine and Bibb lettuces, broccoli, spinach, kale or parsley – can lessen the amount of bone loss that occurs with age, research says, thanks to their high calcium count. But remember to go easy on the dressing.
7. Throw some fish on the grill
Omega-3 fatty acids, found in cold-water fish, such as salmon and mackerel, play a role in an anti-inflammatory diet. In fact, studies show omega-3s can reduce the pain and inflammation of stiff joints in people with arthritis. Don't have time to grill fish every night?  Talk to your doctor about supplementing your diet with fish oil capsules.
8. Snack healthfully
Prepare precut veggies and fruits – like celery and carrot sticks, broccoli florets, pepper slices and melon cubes – so you can take your snacking habit on the go. It will make it easier to choose healthy options when they are at your fingertips. 
9. Break it up
Instead of eating two or three big meals, try spreading out your munching into several smaller meals throughout each day. Research shows that grazing throughout the day boosts your metabolism, helping your body run more efficiently (and keeping off the pounds).
10. Curtail your caffeine intake
While you may need that extra burst of energy in the morning, try to resist those second and third cups of coffee. Studies show that too much caffeine may weaken your bones.

Want more tips? Find out more about how to live a healthy lifestyle including the best foods and fitness for arthritis and the ones to avoid, plus find arthritis-friendly exercises, recipes and more. 
11. Take your vitamins
Supplementing your diet with a multivitamin is a good way to get the vitamins and minerals you may lack by not eating a well-rounded diet. Strong bodies (and overall joint health) will benefit from bone-building calcium and vitamin K, tissue-repairing vitamin C, pain-relieving vitamin E, folic acid and more. Talk to your doctor before starting a vitamin regimen.

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