Foods that help keep your joints healthy

Adding these foods to your daily diet may keep your joints healthy.

Baked salmon and broccoli in dish  for healthy joints

Joint problems don’t necessarily come with age – how we live matters more than how many years we’ve graced the planet. Even so, years of wear and tear can take a toll.

Engaging in physical activity and eating properly are both factors which contribute to healthy joints. Imagine your joints as gears. If you don’t look after them, they’ll rust and seize up. Keep them well lubricated, and they will work better for much longer.

The physical activity is up to you, however, there are some healthy foods that may help to keep those ‘gears’ lubricated and running smoothly.

Wild salmon is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids – one of nature’s best anti-inflammatory compounds. It’s best to choose wild salmon over farmed because the farmed varieties contain fewer to no omega-3s. Fresh wild salmon can be pricey though, so check your supermarket for canned wild salmon as a low-cost option. Sockeye salmon is a good source of vitamin D, which is beneficial for healthy joints and bones.

Ongoing inflammation can lead to the inflamed area becoming vulnerable to damage by free radicals, which then cause further harm to your joints. Almonds are a great source of antioxidants, which fight against free radicals. They also happen to be one of the best sources of vitamin E, which helps to protect joint cells.

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that protects our DNA from free-radical damage. Papayas have almost twice as much vitamin C as oranges, plus a generous dose of beta-carotene – another great antioxidant for joint health.

Apples are rich in quercetin, an antioxidant that is important for building and preserving collagen – which, in turn, provides shock-absorption for your joints. Red apples have the most quercetin – and the darker the red, the better. And remember, all the goodness is concentrated in the skin, so it’s best not to peel your apples.

Black Beans
Bring on the beans – kidney, white, red or black – they’re all packed with protein. Black beans are better than the others when it comes to joint-boosting compounds, and they’re also richer in the type of antioxidants which assist with the reduction of inflammation.

Kale is loaded with calcium, but unlike dairy, is cholesterol-free and lower in fat and calories. It’s rich in vitamins A, C and K, and packed with other minerals that can help to keep your joints healthy and strong. Kale also contains copper, which helps build collagen and ligaments, as well as manganese, which activates enzymes needed for tissue growth and repair.

Broccoli contains sulforaphane, which is a potent force against free radicals. It’s also packed with vitamins that keep joints well nourished – A, Bs, C, E and K – and loads of calcium and protein to boot.


Ginger has been used in Asia for centuries to reduce joint pain and swelling. The spice has much the same effect as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, by reducing the production of a key enzyme in inflammation.

Adding these foods to your diet may help to prevent or ease joint related health issues while also providing additional health benefits. It’s always best to buy organic, but if that’s out of your price range, make sure you wash all fruit and vegetables before eating them.



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    The pom
    24th Oct 2016
    I seem to include most of these items in my diet and as I am 83 yo and still active I hope to continue for a bit longer.
    24th Oct 2016
    Got part of that list. Sadly eating copious amounts of fish may be beneficial but also accelerating the rate of species collapse.
    24th Oct 2016
    Your article says, "It’s best to choose wild salmon over farmed because the farmed varieties contain fewer to no omega-3s." That isn't correct according to Tassal who farm Atlantic Salmon in Tasmania. Their fact sheet ( says that a 150 gram serving of their fresh salmon has 279% of the daily recommended intake of Omega 3. I find it best served coated in harissa spices and lightly fried in olive oil!
    The pom
    24th Oct 2016
    I love their smoked salmon and it doesn't cost an arm and leg to make very nice sandwiches with tomato, red onion chinese cabbage and a bit of aoli on wholemeal bread
    Ageing but not getting old
    24th May 2017
    Re: smoked salmon. For those who eat grains: It's also great on a[wholemeal or multigrain for health] lightly toasted bagel, with cream cheese and optional add-ons such as sliced onion (I like the red/Bermuda ones), capers, dill sprigs, or anything else you fancy, but taste test anything else if you haven't tried it before! Tassal also has a low/reduced salt version, which is little pricier than the regular.
    24th Oct 2016
    All the foods listed here contribute to a healthy diet but most are expensive. I do wish that the authors give evidence-based advice rather than rely on half-baked psuedo-science. None of these foods have been shown by rigorous large research studies to make any difference to the incidence and effects of osteoarthritis. The jury can't decide on the effects (good and bad) of Omega 3 and 6. Avoiding morbidity obesity and regular, weight-bearing exercise are the only things we can do to avoid wear and tear on the joints. So if you can afford it and like these foods go for it. You'd have to eat a lot of ginger and papaya to increase weigh to morbid levels which is probably why so many of our correspondents are healthy!
    Robert Henry
    24th Oct 2016
    Flexeze Fortify from the UK - Good Vitamin Company - is a proven powder to regrow the cartilage in knees and hips 90% + success rate in knees and 80%+ in hips. Tested in a double blind, placebo, 12 month trial in the US by two Universities. I also take a small sprinkle of gelatin in my cereal, my coffee etc. It's undetectable. World Med is the firm to contact for posting to Oz - the Good Vitamin Company has mail order to Europe but not Oz. Pineapple, the flesh the juice and especially the core contains Bromelain which is nature's anti-inflammatory, has made a huge difference to the pain in my knees. I now sleep all night without pain. Trial all things recommended as what works for one, may not work for another. Good luck and good health!
    6th Sep 2017
    We took up old time new Vogue dancing, and although Ive had a hip replacement and have bad knees and back, the gentle dance movements keeps us fit and mobile, and we have made so many friends in our travels. Also learning the sequence dances keeps our minds active and dementia at bay. Wherever you live, there is sure to be a dance club near you. Its a great way to keep fit and its a great social outlet/

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