8 Foods That Relieve Joint Pain

Doctor William C Lloyd Healthgrades Medical Reviewer
Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Written By Judith Hurley on June 22, 2021
  • Painful joints
    Eat to Ease Joint Pain
    Painful, stiff, or swollen joints can make it tough to get through the day. Research shows that some foods can dial down inflammation and help relieve joint pain. Here are eight foods that might help your aching joints.
  • Salmon
    1. Salmon
    Certain types of fish are rich in oils called omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy fats block inflammation and help relieve the morning stiffness and joint tenderness associated with arthritis. Fish with the most omega-3 fats are salmon, tuna, herring, and mackerel.
  • Cherries
    2. Cherries
    Cherries get their vibrant red color from anthocyanin compounds. These potent antioxidants can reduce inflammation. Some research shows that cherries protect against arthritis and help relieve arthritis symptoms.
  • Quinoa grain
    3. Quinoa
    Do you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity? People with these conditions can develop joint pain if they consume wheat, barley, or rye. To avoid aching joints, choose quinoa and other gluten-free grains such as amaranth, rice, and millet.
  • closeup of oil pouring out of glass bottle
    4. Olive Oil
    A staple of the Mediterranean diet, olive oil contains a substance called oleocanthal. Just like the anti-inflammatory drug ibuprofen, oleocanthal blocks COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes that trigger inflammation. This may partly explain how a Mediterranean diet lessens the joint pain and stiffness associated with rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Turmeric
    5. Turmeric
    This golden yellow Indian spice has a slightly bitter taste. It's an important ingredient in curries and other Indian dishes. Turmeric contains the compound curcumin, which has been shown in animal studies to protect joints from inflammation.
  • Green tea
    6. Green Tea
    Green tea is loaded with antioxidants called catechins. Laboratory studies show that one of these substances, epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), can protect joints from the type of cartilage damage that occurs in osteoarthritis.
  • Broccoli
    7. Broccoli
    Sulforaphane is a strong sulfur-containing antioxidant found in broccoli and other vegetables in the cabbage family. Sulforaphane suppresses cytokines, substances that ramp up inflammation. Animal studies have shown that sulforaphane can lessen joint inflammation and decrease the severity of arthritis.
  • Oatmeal
    8. Whole Grains
    Whole grains—such as whole wheat bread, oatmeal, and brown rice—might help keep your joints healthy by reducing inflammation. In a study of overweight adults, those who switched from refined grains to whole grains for 12 weeks had much lower levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation.
8 Foods That Relieve Joint Pain
  1. Rheumatoid Arthritis and Complementary Health Approaches, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, August 2012 (http://nccam.nih.gov/health/RA/getthefacts.htm)
  2. Turmeric, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, April 2012 (http://nccam.nih.gov/health/turmeric/ataglance.htm)
  3. Eat to Beat Joint Inflammation, Arthritis Today, Arthritis Foundation, accessed December 2012 (http://www.arthritistoday.org/nutrition-and-weight-loss/healthy-eating/food-and-inflammation/eat-to-...
  4. Cruciferous Vegetables and Cancer Prevention, National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of health, June 2012 (http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/diet/cruciferous-vegetables)
  5. If You Have Celiac Disease: Grains and Plant Foods to Include on Your Grocery List, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, December 2012 (http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=4294967395#.UMy1knfNmSo)
  6. Celiac Disease, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, December 2012 (http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=5542#.UMy0xHfNmSo)
  7. The Indirect Antioxidant Sulforaphane Protects Against Thiopurine-Mediated Photooxidative Stress, A.L. Benedict et al. Carcinogenesis, 2012, vol. 33, no. 12, pp. 2457-66. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22983983)
  8. Arthritis, Medline Plus, National Library of Medicine, December 11, 2012 (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/arthritis.html)
Was this helpful?
Last Review Date: 2021 Jun 22
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.