Dr Gilles Mondoloni: diet reduces joint pain

Doctor Gilles Mondoloni, osteopathic doctor attached to the Paris Hospitals in rheumatology, reveals the food choices to favor and those to avoid, to reduce joint pain linked to wear, age or osteoarthritis. A real painkiller diet.

If your joints are hurting you, don’t neglect your diet. A poor diet can contribute to amplifying your pain, conversely, a well-chosen diet can contribute to relieving you and blocking the progression of pain. The solution to joint pain could come from what you do or do not put in your shopping cart.

Joint pain eats meat, milk and cheese

Red meats but also pork and lamb contain pro-inflammatory saturated fats and should therefore be avoided for joint health. Prefer white meats low in saturated fat. The most interesting meat is farm chicken, ideally organic. Be reasonable about the quantities and the frequency, because the meat contains a lot of arachidonic acid, which, in the body, will be transformed into prostaglandin, a pro-inflammatory molecule.

Cheese is as such an acidifying food. In addition, the fat in cheese clogs the body by promoting food deposits in the joint capsules, which leads to pain. Prefer sheep’s or goat’s cheese, which is less inflammatory and less acidifying than cow’s cheese, and eat it only once a day. Milk, especially cow’s milk, is an acidifying food and therefore aggressive for the joints. Reduce your consumption of dairy products and favor those of goat or sheep, less acidifying. For example, you can consume a goat or sheep yoghurt a day. Also consider plant sources of calcium. For dairy products made from cow’s milk, prefer organic milk, which is of higher quality. Indeed, non-organic milk comes from malnourished cows, and will therefore be too rich in pro-inflammatory substances and too poor in omega-3 which, in turn, are good anti-inflammatories.

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The good fats that relieve joint inflammation

It is important to favor fats that observe a low omega-6 / omega-3 ratio (ideally less than 5) because omega-6 are pro-inflammatory fatty acids while omega-3 are anti-inflammatory. Opt for rapeseed, walnut, flax or even camelina and perilla oil: their omega-6 / omega-3 ratio is 3 or 4. Also consider fatty fish (sardines, mackerel, herring, etc.) which are good sources of omega-3s. Olive oil, meanwhile, is antioxidant and will therefore be interesting to reduce oxidative stress but it remains low in omega-3. Butter provides vitamins A, C, D and E and trace elements: better a little good quality butter than sunflower margarine which increases inflammation in the body.

Charcuterie and eggs: not just any

Delicatessen is a combination of risks, it contains carcinogenic nitrites, saturated fatty acids, it promotes weight gain and inflammation and therefore causes joint pain, it also contains a lot of salt and very few antioxidants. Avoid cold cuts, consume it only for pleasure on an occasional basis. Among the breadth of choice, opt for ham instead, preferably chicken ham.

The quality of the egg depends on how the hen is fed. If the hen is raised in the open air, on an organic farm, she will have a diversified diet (plants, seeds, worms, etc.) and will produce eggs rich in omega-3, a good anti-inflammatory. Conversely, non-organic hens raised in batteries are fed with corn and sunflower, foods of poor quality and little diversity. Their eggs will then be low in omega-3 and therefore quite inflammatory for us who consume them. Maximum four organic eggs per week.

Gluten and soda as little as possible, green tea as much as possible

Gluten is an inflammatory component. In general, it would be interesting to reduce our gluten consumption, without eliminating it. Reduce your consumption of bread, pizza or cakes overall, but don’t be too strict: creating frustration is often more detrimental to the body than allowing yourself gluten-rich foods from time to time. And also know how to make the qualitative difference between the wheat contained in a good organic bread made with artisan wheat and industrial white bread, less interesting. Good to know: For the moment, the link between a drastic reduction in gluten consumption and the relief of joint pain has only been proven in cases of gluten intolerance.

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Sodas and fruit juices promote weight gain and increase the glycation index, which corresponds to the binding of sugar to joint cells. This is called the ‘caramelization’ of the cells: the cartilage then becomes harder and more rigid. The ideal drink against joint pain: Mineral water with a low mineral content (such as Volvic, Evian, Mont Roucous… For coffee and tea, consuming it is a very good idea! Tea, especially green tea, and coffee are draining and detoxifying drinks rich in antioxidants Stay reasonable and do not exceed two or three cups a day.


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