14 Natural Remedies For Joint Pain

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Joint pain can leave you stopped in your tracks. It seems that it is becoming more and more common, especially amongst adults. Typical intermittent aches and pains can plague all of us, but when joint pain begins to become chronic, it can feel like it is becoming a way of life. And, simultaneously taking away from the ease of your life. 

Joint pain is most often felt in areas such as knees, hips, low back, shoulders, ankles, and wrists. Inflammation is the main culprit but the root cause could come from overuse, injury, muscle strain, muscle weakness, autoimmune disease, and general systemic inflammation. Anti-inflammatory medications can help to ease the discomfort in the short term, but rarely addresses the root cause of that inflammation. Not to mention, in some cases, these medications can make you feel great in the short-term but actually worsen the root cause. 

There are many options to naturally decrease joint pain. If the joint pain onset is related to a deeper foundational root cause (i.e., weakened gut health, leaky gut, systemic stress, etc), then implementing some of these natural remedies could greatly decrease your joint pain and also heal your body on a deeper level. You don’t need to do all of these tips, but picking the ones that seem to work for you could greatly decrease your pain and discomfort (and bring more ease back into your life!). 

  1. Drink plenty of water (and stay hydrated). This tip is one of the most important and most foundational, yet one that gets overlooked all the time. Water lubricates and cushions the joints. Make sure that you are drinking half of your bodyweight (in lbs) in ounces of water daily, more if you consume dehydrating beverages (i.e., coffee, teas, and juices) and/or sweating often.
  2. Remove gluten, dairy, and sugar from your diet. Your body becomes more inflamed the more you eat foods that can increase inflammation. These are the main foods that cause inflammation and body flare ups. This includes not only joint pain, but also acne, rashes, and other inflammatory-related symptoms.
  3. Eat the right kind of fats. Fats are essential for overall body and hormone functioning, but the right kinds of fats are important. Remove inflammatory Omega-6 fats, such as vegetable oil, canola oil, and other seed oils. Add in more Omega-3 fats and monounsaturated fats, such as wild-caught salmon and extra virgin olive oil. These are excellent for managing and decreasing inflammation. If you don’t do fatty fish, you could try consuming a fish oil supplement to help get these healthy benefits. 
  4. Get plenty of sun (with skin exposure) or take a Vitamin D/K2 supplement. Vitamin D is important for supporting healthy bones. It helps with calcium absorption and those with low levels of vitamin D are linked with higher levels of osteoarthritis. 
  5. Consume plenty of high-quality animal protein. Your body needs the full set of amino acids to keep your bones strong, support muscle recovery, and decrease inflammation/joint pain. Animal protein will give you the complete range of amino acids, B-vitamins, choline, magnesium, and iron that you need to support healthy tissue. The key word, however, is high- quality — grass-fed beef, pasteurize- raised poultry and eggs, and wild game such as venison. The muscle meat is not the only part that is nutritious for your joints…
  6. Consume a form of collagen. Along with the animal protein, consuming forms of collagen are super helpful in calming joint pain. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the your body and it helps to build joints and keep connective tissue strong. Consuming collagen, gelatin, or bone broth are ways of getting in natural glucosamine, which have been shown helpful in reducing joint pain. 
  7. Use high doses of curcumin. Turmeric has become popular specifically because of it’s active ingredient curcumin. It has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
  8. Up your magnesium intake. Most people are deficient in magnesium, even if they are eating a nutrient-dense diet. Low levels of magnesium can cause muscle aches, joint pain, leg spasms, weakened bones, and unhealthy nerve function. If you are low in magnesium or suspect that you are, try taking a high-quality magnesium supplement. 
  9. Get active. Regular exercise is critical for healthy muscle and joint function. It helps to strengthen the muscles and joints and decrease your potential for injury. Exercise is also important for balancing hormones such as human growth hormone, cortisol, and other hormones that play a role in appetite and aging. Make sure that you lift heavy weights (appropriate for your body) and stretch regularly to loosen the pressure placed on your joints. 
  10. Eliminate nightshades foods. Nightshades include foods like peppers, potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes, goji berries, paprika, and ashwagandha. These foods can play a role in joint pain and muscle aches — inflammation — possibly due to the alkaloid content, or toxic compounds, that those plants can give off as a self-defense. 
  11. Try a glucosamine/chondroitin/MSM supplement. This combination has been shown to be helpful in nourishing the joints for some people. It can support the health of the cartilage. There are some people who notice worsening effects, so if you try it and your symptoms get worse or you don’t notice anything, stop taking it. 
  12. Try a high-quality CBD or hemp oil daily. CBD and hemp oil have very powerful anti-inflammatory effects and can be the “thing” that helps lessen the effect of chronic pain and inflammation. Make sure that when choosing one of these oils, that you find a company that is high-quality, tested for metals or toxins, and is sustainably resourced. 
  13. Use essential oils. Lavender, Frankincense, Eucalyptus, Peppermint, and Rosemary are just a few of the essential oils that have been linked to decreasing joint pain. Dilute 1-2 drops in a carrier oil (coconut oil, almond oil, olive oil, etc) and rub over the affected area to help decrease pain and discomfort. 
  14. Try the AIP (Autoimmune Protocol), if you are still have joint pain. If you are still having problems after doing the foundational steps, you may need to take a deeper dive. Eliminating foods such as coffee, eggs, grains, and nuts can help to calm your body’s inflammation and chronic pain. Doing this for a few months has given some people great relief and has helped them to discover exactly what foods are triggering their joint pain. 

**Click here for easy access to recommended supplements above.

Joint pain and body inflammation does not need to stop you from enjoy all that life has to offer. There are plenty of natural approaches you can try to help give you relief. Not only will these help to give you relief, but they also help to support the body as a whole!

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10 Anti-Inflammatory Foods: Slash Body Pain, Improve Digestion, and Lose Weight

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My grandma used to say “My knees are talking to me.”

I never fully understood what that meant until I got older. My workouts hurt a little bit more. High humidity days would swell my knees up like balloons. I would wake up hurting and left in a perplexing state wondering how I hurt myself sleeping.

And for so long I blamed it on the aging process, convinced that it was a natural sign of aging and something that I had to deal with. Or maybe it was genetic and I was destined to have my grandma’s talking knees.

I learned that it doesn’t have to be that way!

Inflammation 

Inflammation comes in many forms and can be super sneaky. You might feel it as muscle soreness or joint pain.

Or, maybe you are dealing with depression or emotional imbalances.

Perhaps you have digestive issues or a disease, autoimmune disorder, or cancer has creeped into your life. All of these (and more) are directly connected to an inflammation imbalance.

When Inflammation Is Good

The body’s inflammation response is an essential part of the healing process. Injuries, surgeries, and other traumas need to have inflammation acutely in order to help the body heal and bounce back quickly. This is a good thing!

In acute healing phases, inflammation is essential. It helps the body fight foreign invaders and also has a role in repairing damage. Without inflammation, pathogens like bacteria could easily take over our bodies and kill us. Yay, inflammation!

When Inflammation Is Not So Good

When the body starts to heal and the effects of trauma are resolving, inflammation should begin to resolve too, right? Not necessarily.

When there was no trauma involved, the body should naturally feel free of pain and discomfort, right? Again, not necessarily.

Chronic inflammation is like a silent fire smoldering beneath the surface. Because you can’t see or actually feel this type of inflammation, it’s often referred to as the body’s “silent fire”—which makes perfect sense, because the word “inflammation” derives from the Latin word for “to set on fire.”

When the body’s immune system doesn’t communicate to shut off, it can be like a fire that is not extinguished easily. It is not entirely known why the body will not communicate the shut off. It just keeps producing immune cells, leaving your body in a constant state of alert. And the body remains in a constant state of stress.

When the immune cells can’t find an injury or illness to repair, they eventually attack healthy cells, damaging your tissues and organs. This is when you start to have noticeable problems! This damage has been linked to a slew of diseases and disorders, including asthma, ulcers, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, ulcerative colitis, allergies, some types of cancer and even Alzheimer’s.

Unfortunately, you can’t see low-grade, chronic inflammation and squash the silent fire ahead of time. This is why it is so easy to think that having sore joints and a painful body is how you are SUPPOSED to feel. It isn’t until the damage is done that you really start to step back and notice; even then you may not immediately link it to chronic inflammation.

Using Digestion To Silence The Fire

Your body is incredibly wise and does give you clues to inflammatory cues for concern.

Excess inflammation in the body can cause weight gain (especially in the belly), mental fog, and an overall ‘blah’ feeling. It can also lead to fatigue, digestive issues, depression, sleep issues, and random aches and pains. This is only to name a few!

When making changes, it is important to start at the root cause. Digestion is one of the first places to begin because the digestive tract is the most condensed area of immune cells— 80% of the immune system is located within the gut, and gut microbes can drive inflammation.

There are four main goals of an anti-inflammatory nutrition plan:

  1. Keep blood sugars balanced. Excess glucose stresses the body and causes a systemic inflammatory response.
  2. Eat the right types of fats. Fats are super important for hormonal balancing and decreasing stress placed on the body.
  3. Consume anti-inflammatory phytochemicals. Some foods have natural inflammation fighting powers.
  4. Promote healthy gut flora. You got to keep the gut strong so that it can absorb all the beneficial nutrients you are feeding it.

It may sound complicated, but don’t let that frighten you. If you make a few small changes, for even a few minutes each day, you can drastically lower inflammation levels in the body.

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10 Anti-Inflammatory Foods To Silence The Fire

  1. Dark leafy greens: Think kale, spinach, swiss chard, broccoli— these powerhouse foods are not only high in antioxidants and healing flavonoids, but they also contain a compound called “quercetin,” which acts much like anti-inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen, aspirin). Toss a handful of spinach in your morning smoothie or throw together some chopped up kale, carrots, and raisins for a delicious kale salad. You can also toss a handful of spinach into your morning omelette and cook until leaves are wilted.
  2. Turmeric:  Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric and it is a very powerful antioxidant and has incredible anti-inflammatory properties. They are so powerful that even studies have shown that curcumin is more powerful in decreasing inflammation than anti-inflammatory drugs. Add some turmeric to your morning egg scrabble, season your roasted veggies, toss some into your smoothie (be careful how much you put in because the taste can be overpowering), or drink a turmeric tea.
  3. Blueberries: An antioxidant powerhouse, blueberries are high in phytonutrients that are buzzing with anti-inflammatory protection. They protect against many diseases, such as cancer and dementia. Add them to your salad, use them for your morning smoothie, freeze them and eat them as a cold treat, or top your favorite healthy dessert with a handful of them.
  4. Wild-caught salmon: Wild-caught salmon is an excellent source of two omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, that are known for their inflammation slashing. The benefits of omega-3 have been backed over and over by studies. They are shown to reducing symptoms of psychological disorders, preventing heart disease, and reducing your risk of cancer. No farmed salmon here! Two times a week, add salmon to your diet. Salmon fillets with lemon juice are a great choice! If getting in salmon is pretty challenging, opt for supplementation by a liquid or a capsule most days a week.
  5. Coconut oil: This is by far my favorite! And for good reason— Coconut oil is not only anti-inflammatory, but it also boosts metabolism, helps balance hormones, and has anti-microbial properties. It is truly a healing powerhouse. Try adding it to your morning shakes, sauté your leafy greens in it, roast your turmeric root vegetables in it, or use it as a spread on your sprouted grain bread. Remember, the skin is an absorbable organ. You can use coconut oil externally too. Use coconut oil as a moisturizer instead of the expensive, paraben-laden cosmetics from the beauty counter.
  6. Tomatoes: Tomatoes are a powerhouse of nutrients. Tomatoes are a great source of lycopene, an antioxidant that protects your brain, decreasing inflammation that can cause depression and other brain health issues. Throw some in your salads or eat some sauce, just make sure that you are getting the skins of the tomatoes, where lycopene lives.
  7. Avocados: Not only are avocados a healthy fat that improves digestion and supports heart health, but they are good for inflammation too. They also contain carotenoids, which are linked to reduced cancer risk. You can throw some in your smoothie, on your salad, or top your scrambled eggs with them.
  8. Cherries: Cherries are so delicious and remind me of summertime. But, they are also rich in antioxidants, such as anthocyanins and catechins, which fight inflammation. Although the health-promoting properties of tart cherries have been studied more than other varieties, sweet cherries also provide benefits. You can drink a tart cherry juice or buy a bunch of sweet cherries to munch on as a snack.
  9. Red Bell Peppers: I love red bell peppers for a hefty dose of anti-inflammatory power—but go red to reap the most benefits. According to Journal of Food Science, out of the three colors of bell pepper, red have the highest amount of inflammatory-biomarker-reducing vitamin C along with the bioflavonoids beta-carotene, quercetin, and luteolin. Luteolin has been found to neutralize free radicals and reduce inflammation. Beta-carotene is a carotenoid, fat-soluble compounds that are associated with a reduction in a wide range of cancers, as well as reduced risk and severity of inflammatory conditions such as asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. Quercetin acts as a mast-cell stabilizer, decreasing the number of cells reacting to an allergen. Make a stir-fry or slice them up for a delicious dip in your hummus.
  10. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil: Olive oil is fabulous for fighting inflammation and research believes it is because of the olecanthal, found only in olive oil. It has been found to have significant impact on inflammation and helps reduce joint cartilage damage, working similarly to ibuprofen. You can sprinkle olive oil on anything — your sandwich, in your smoothie, on your eggs, and of course on your salad.

Even though nutrition is only one piece of the lifestyle puzzle for calming inflammation and silencing the fire, it is an easy one to start with. Slowly start adding some of these foods into your daily nutrition plan to take back control of your body!

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3 Reasons You Should Eat Protein And Fat For Breakfast

Stress and emotional eating had me running to the kitchen to binge.

My late night eating habit left me binging on cakes, ice cream, cereal, or leftover pizza.

Or all of them at once.

With every pound I gained and with every stomach pain I winced through, I knew that I had a big problem. I thought it was just related to the emotional stress that was penetrating every moment of every day. It wasn’t until years later that I realized it wasn’t just the emotional stress that triggered me, rather a combination of that, the so-called healthy foods that I was eating throughout the day, and the fad diets ruling my world at that time. I have since significantly healed myself through dietary and lifestyle changes, but looking back with what I know now, it all made sense.

appetizer avocado bread breakfast
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High Protein, High Fat Diets

Popular high-fat and high-protein diets are all the rage right now. First it was Atkins and now it is Keto. I am sure that there were some others sprinkled in between.

There is good reason that these diets gained so much popularity. Even though a balance of your macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, and fats) are important, protein is proving to be the top dog when it comes to weight-loss and helping to stave off health issues such as imbalanced hormones and Type 2 Diabetes. 

Studies have linked high-protein diets to play a significant role in weight-loss and overall body fat loss. It all starts in your brain, in particular, your hypothalamus. A higher protein intake increases levels of your appetite-reducing hormones, GLP-1, peptide YY, and cholecystokinin. At the same time, it reduces your level of your hunger-increasing hormone, ghrelin. Your hunger starts to fade and you automatically start to lose weight because you are consuming fewer calories. 

In a perfect non-craving, sugary world, this would be the end of this article. Just eat more protein, I would say as I signed off….

But, it is not!

You are also contending with potential spiking blood sugar levels, leaving you crave more carbs and sugar. And, your days are continually plagued with foods that contain unhealthy fats that could damage your body and your heart.

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What Have I Learned

The quality of your foods and how you time out what you eat makes a radical difference. This will depend on your activity levels and when you go to bed. And it all starts with your first meal of the day….

Getting the proper nutrition on your first meal of breaking your nightly fast will set you up for much bigger results during the rest of your day. A solid first meal (breakfast or whenever you are breaking your fast) helps to create satiety, balances your hormones, and creates less spiking of your blood sugar throughout the day. Not only is this perfect for anyone with blood sugar issues (i.e., diabetics and pre-diabetics), but it also is a solid recipe for weight-loss. Let’s break each of them down.

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Photo by Nathan Cowley on Pexels.com

Increased Satiety

High-protein meals are highly satiating. They lead to reducing hunger and appetite (remember those hormones above) much more than their lower-protein meal counterparts. Not only do they fill you up and reduce your hunger, causing less calorie intake, but they also help to reduce cravings and late night snacking! 

Remember when I said that quality matters? You bet it does. Here are a few ideas of high-quality proteins to fuel your first meals:

  • Grass fed beef
  • Wild game
  • Free range chicken
  • Turkey
  • Lamb
  • Sardines
  • Pasture-raised eggs
  • Soaked Quinoa
  • Soaked Legumes

Balanced Hormones Through Better Food Choices

Balancing out those hormones first thing helps you to make better food choices later in the day, almost like your willpower woke up and said, “Hey, let’s do this.” Protein and healthy fats in your first meal not only works to balance those appetite and hunger hormones, but these also fill you up. If you feel fuller as a result of eating a well-balanced first meal, you are more likely to make healthier food choices throughout the day.

When you consume high-protein sources, you also take in other nutrients like iron, vitamin C, calcium and fiber, depending upon what type of protein source you eat. On the other hand, when you consume large amounts of processed foods, especially sugar, you deplete nutrients like magnesium.

Reduced Risk of Type 2 Diabetes and Heart Disease

When we break our daily night fast with healthy fats and quality proteins for breakfast, we are setting ourselves up for blood sugar balance, sustained energy between meals without fatigue and cravings, eliminating the blood sugar roller-coaster and mood swings, and providing long-lasting satiation. 

If your blood sugar is constantly being taxed, insulin resistance could occur. Insulin is needed to help your body use glucose to provide energy for basic activities. Insulin resistance is associated with increased risk for diabetes, a chronic condition that can lead to serious complications and is associated with heart disease and high blood pressure.

With a high protein, high fat morning meal, you are also helping to fuel your metabolism. That means more calories are being burned throughout the day!

What are some high-quality healthy fats to help balance blood sugar and increase your HDL cholesterol (your good cholesterol)?

  • Avocado or avocado oil
  • Olives or olive oil
  • Egg yolks
  • Grass fed butter and ghee
  • Coconut oil
  • Nuts and seeds, especially walnuts
  • Wild Caught fish
  • Coconut Milk

 

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5 Tips To Make Meal Planning Easy

Meal planning is one of those things that we have the best intentions of doing, and then with everything else going on, it’s usually the first thing to fall through the cracks.

It is easy to look at it as “one more thing on the to-do list,” but in the long run, it is actually saving us time. When I do make a point to sit down and write out meals for the week, it makes grocery shopping and prepping dinner much easier—even when my days are full of to-do’s. So, I thought it would be fun if I gave you a few tips to help make meal planning easier so you can get in the routine of de-stressing your meal time!

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Don’t go to the store listless. 

Does this sound familiar? You insist on storing your grocery list in your brain when you shop for ingredients, which inevitably means that a few things don’t make it into your shopping cart and leave you in a pickle when you’re ready to cook. We’d all love an impeccable memory but when it’s hard to even recall our Facebook passwords these days, let’s not put extra pressure on ourselves to remember every last item on our meal plan.

Put it on paper (or an app)! List out the ingredients you need for each of your meals for the week, then grocery shop with list in hand. It’s that easy, but many don’t do it!

It is also very helpful to have a template already prepared. This can include the foods you buy weekly and/or food categories that you can fill in as your meal planning will need.

Not only will it help you remember what you need, but it will also help you stick to the list and help you save money in the long run.

Start small and plan leftovers.

Flexibility is key. Believe it or not, part of meal planning is not planning. When you plan and shop for every meal from Monday to Sunday, it can take some of the fun out of last minute dinner invites because, in the back of your head, you are afraid that those asparagus spears are going to go brown and soggy if you don’t make them, like right now!

Planning and mapping out an entire week of meals is just a lot of work that can lead to wasted food and may be entirely overwhelming if you are just starting out. Start small and plan 2-3 meals with leftovers. This will allow you the flexibility to take that dinner invite, but also use your leftovers for breakfast or lunch. You can even use them differently, giving you a bit of creativity to your weekly meal plan.

Batch prepare.

Kitchen chaos and multiple stops at the drive through on your way home from work may be a direct result of not preparing meals (or having a plan) ahead of time. If your plan consists of rushing home from work and trying to quick whip up a healthy meal in time for dinner, you may find yourself falling short — not to mention falling back on unhealthy meal options.

Finding one day or evening to prepare multiple meals ahead of time will save you money and stress, not to mention it will decrease a potential headache! Weekends typically work best for most people, but maybe it is a day during the week that works best for you. It really doesn’t matter!

You will also save time in preparing meals because you have the kitchen primed for cooking. As a whole, less time spent on prepping and cleaning up.

Don’t be a short order cook.

Want to raise a picky eater? Let your child eat whatever he/she wants and cater to his or her food preferences. Want to not raise a picky eater? Expose your children to healthy and diverse foods from a young age and don’t make any specific foods for them. Children learn habits that they are exposed to — enjoying the tastes of healthy foods, learning to try new things, understanding that they are part of the whole family’s needs, etc. Not only is this more nutritious for kids, but it will really be a benefit to them in the long run. It will also save you a ton of stress.

Do you find that your kids resist? Rules work well with children when they are exposed to them consistently. For example, kids are required to try one bite of everything cooked before they can have more of any one food. And, if they are truly not hungry they are not required to eat BUT then can NOT complain about the food or interrupt the meal with a bad attitude.

It is about setting the parameters in your kitchen. They may not like it at first and you may have push-back, but, in the long run it will make meal-time happier!

Focus on core recipes.

As you find recipes your family enjoys, make them core recipes that get re-used every few weeks. Try to build up about 20 of these and you won’t ever be bored with your meals. Each week, use these core meals for 5 of your dinners and try something new for 2 dinners. If you get really motivated, build these 20 core meals for each season using seasonal produce and rotate with the seasons. This will also save money on produce.

And, you can tweak your core recipes to make them even more interesting. For example, add different veggies to a stir fry or a different protein source in your favorite soup base.

Did you find this helpful? Comment below and tell me your favorite part of this article!


Do you feel like you need a quick, delicious meal that will help you balance hormones and give you energy? I got you covered — for FREE! Click here to get your free recipe guide.

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