Inflammation and Joint Health for Dancers (and all of us!)

As a professional dancer and active person you want to do everything you can to stay healthy and keep your body working without pain, especially your joints.

Good news! You don’t have to do dubious detoxing or eliminate food groups from your diet. Here are a few easy steps to including foods that may keep your joints and hearts free of inflammation. Here is what to include:

1. Fruits such as strawberries, blueberries and especially cherries and oranges.
2. Fatty fish like salmon and tuna.
3. Olive oil and flaxseed oil.
4. Nuts and seeds like walnuts, almonds, chia and flaxseeds.
5. Green tea.
6. Herbs like cinnamon, cloves, turmeric, and garlic.
7. Plenty of water.

Foods to decrease or avoid:

1. Refined sugar.
2. Alcohol.
3. Red meat.
4. Butters, margarines, and lard.
5. Fried foods.

You may have read about the “deadly nightshade” vegetables such as tomatoes, eggplant, peppers and potatoes being inflammatory. However there is no scientific evidence that supports eliminating these foods from the diet in the hopes of decreasing inflammation. In fact these foods contain powerful dance friendly nutrients. Peppers are filled with vitamin C. Tomatoes and eggplants contain lycopene and anthocyanins, which protect against cancer and help maintain heart health. Potatoes are filled with potassium which for dancers will help with bone health.

You may also have heard that you should eliminate wheat and gluten from your diet. But unless you have celiac disease or eat your wheat raw, you should not be affected in a negative way by consuming wheat and its products, like whole wheat cereals and breads.

Strong bones require calcium, Vitamin D, magnesium and protein (but not too much) as well. Keep your diet varied and include some good sources of calcium and Vitamin D from dairy foods, fortified plant milks, and include all kinds of nuts, seeds and cereals and grains for magnesium to support joint and bone health.

Make your diet as whole food and natural as you can by including whole grains, fruits, veggies, lean proteins, and healthful fats and your overall health and dance career will benefit! For a more individual and specific analysis, contact me for a consultation.

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