6 Joint-Friendly Ingredients to Have in Your Pantry

Spice up soup with turmeric or swap butter for olive oil. Those ingredients and more can help you ease joint pain and manage rheumatoid arthritis.

Diana Bierman

Don’t wait for a flare to add the following foods to your dishes. Regularly incorporating anti-inflammatory ingredients in your meals and menus can help keep joint pain from rising up in the first place.

Numerous studies credit gingerol, the compound that gives ginger its “heat,” for the spice’s ability to relive achy muscles and joints.
How to use it:
Ginger is super versatile, so get creative! Jazz up your chicken (Ginger Chicken) or even add it to a smoothie (Peach Ginger Smoothie).

Olive oil
The same compound that gives this Mediterranean staple its flavor—oleocanthal—has also been shown to tame aches and pains. Brush olive oil on meats, use for sautéing veggies, drizzle onto pastas or into salad. Whether it’s virgin, extra-virgin or pure, your joints will reap its feel-good benefits.
How to use it: Try this Roasted Asparagus—after the oil, just four other ingredients are needed for this easy recipe!

A component in basil called eugenol inhibits cyclooxygenase, a pain-causing enzyme also targeted by many over-the-counter anti-inflammatories. Fresh or dried, basil can easily be incorporated into meals.
How to use it: This herb is especially tasty on veggies, such as squash (Squash With Tomatoes and Basil) or broccoli (Basil Broccoli)—or you can even add it to your breakfast (Tomato and Basil Frittata)!

This golden spice, common in East Asian dishes, helps shut down certain proteins in the body that trigger inflammation. Turmeric also has other health benefits, from warding off cancer and Alzheimer’s to boosting your immune system.
How to use it: Turmeric isn’t just used in curry! It’ll kick this Carrot-Ginger Soup up a notch.

This pungent bulb’s antioxidants may provide anti-inflammatory benefits, according to a study in Arthritis Research and Therapy. Garlic also contains certain compounds that block enzymes that cause pain and swelling.
How to use it: Try garlic-spiced turkey (Turkey Bolognese) or tasty chicken (Buttermilk Chicken Finger).

There’s evidence that rosemary contains an anti-inflammatory compound that helps reduce stiffness and swelling. Bonus: Rosemary helps aid digestion, increases circulation and may help prevent cancer.
How to use it: This aromatic herb goes best with lean meats and poultry—try it on our Citrus-Kissed Roast Turkey.

September 2013