Living with the pain of bursitis can significantly limit the ability to participate in physical activities and often leads to a reduction in quality of life. While there are treatment options that involve drugs or surgery, some people can control their bursitis through a simple, natural change in bursitis diet.
Bursitis and calcific tendonitis are painful conditions that result from inflammation around the joints and tendons. Although treatment consists of rest, medication and physical therapy, an anti-inflammatory bursitis diet may help too. Find out what foods to avoid with calcific tendonitis, bursitis or both.
Bursitis is the inflammation of a bursa, or small fluid-filled sac, in a joint. All our joints—hips, shoulders, elbows, knees, even heels—contain bursae, which help tendons glide over the bones of the joint. When a bursa becomes inflamed, the joint may swell and become red and warm to the touch. You’ll feel pain, which may be sharp, especially when you try to move the affected area.
Many cases of bursitis improve with home treatment. Learn more about self-care tips for bursitis, including natural bursitis remedies.
Moderate your intake of these uric acid forming foods:
- Prepared foods (especially white flour, white sugar, colorants and additives)
- Animal fats
- Dairy products
- Citrus fruits
- Bell peppers
- Soft drinks
Increase your intake of these alkaline foods:
- Vegetables (especially the green ones)
- Cold pressed vegetable oils
- Whole grains (brown rice, millet, buckwheat, kamut®, spelt, oat…)
- Kidney beans
- Dry fruits (figs, raisins, apricots…)
- Seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, sesame…)
- Certain fruits: golden delicious apples, pineapple, papaya, mango, guava, blueberries, blackberries, cherries
- Fatty fish (herring, mackerel, salmon, tuna and sardines)
- Water is an essential element for healthy joints. Everybody should drink half their weight (lbs.) in ounces of water a day (32 ounces = 1 liter), to ensure that the joints do not get dehydrated or the bones more brittle. Water is an important medium to help transport the acids out of the body through the kidneys.
Foods to Treat Bursitis
Certain fruits like oranges and grapefruit are high in vitamin C, which helps damaged cells and tissues, like those found in bursitis, regenerate and repair themselves. A diet deficient in vitamin C can also lead to a weak bursa, making it more prone to inflammation and infection.
Pineapple and Papaya
Pineapple is rich in bromelain and papayas contain papain. Both ingredients can reduce inflammation caused by bursitis. They can be eaten whole or juiced to get this benefit.
Broccoli, Spinach and Bananas
Broccoli, spinach and bananas are rich in vitamin B complex, including riboflavin, niacin and thiamine, which help treat bursitis. These nutrients repair damaged cells and regenerate healthy ones. They also help prevent infection of the damaged cells caused by bursitis.
Avocadoes and Tomatoes
Foods like avocadoes and tomatoes are rich in vitamin E, an antioxidant that destroys free radicals in the body. Free radicals are toxins that cause cell damage. Increasing your intake of vitamin E foods will help fight damage caused by bursitis.
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish oil and flaxseed oil. This compound decreases inflammation caused by bursitis and develops strong, healthy tissues instead. You can find omega-3 in supplements, salmon, walnuts and olive oil.
Dark greens contain many, many beneficial ingredients ranging from vitamin K to iron. Dark greens also contain B vitamins, which can have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body. B vitamins repair cells and prevent damage to cells, according to the Human Performance Resource Center. Some of the best dark greens to add to your diet include broccoli, spinach, kale, and dark lettuce.
There is some debate on whether bananas are good for fighting inflammation or not. Some medical research shows they cause inflammation because they are a high-glycemic food, while other research shows they fight inflammation because they contain vitamin C, antioxidants, and Alpha-linolenic acid (which is known for fighting inflammation).
Fish, Eggs, and Grass-Fed Meats
Omega-3 oil is one of the biggest sources of nutrients that most Americans are missing today. In fact, it is estimated by the Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute that Americans eat about 25 times more omega-6 fatty acid than Omega-3 fatty acid. The recommended balance of Omega-3 oils to Omega-6s oils is 4 to 1. Basically, to reduce the inflammatory effects of omega-6 acids, there have to be enough other oils in the body from omega-3s, 7s, and 9s. Omega-3 fatty acids largely come from fish, but other sources include walnuts, grass-fed meats, flaxseed, and pasture-raised eggs. You can find omega 7 and 9 in olive oil and macadamia nut oil.
Take care with olive oil, however, as it is often adulterated with omega-6 oils like soybean oil. If your olive oil doesn’t have a strong flavor and does not solidify when you refrigerated it, it is not pure olive oil.
Most grains have a high glycemic index, which can lead to inflammation in the body. However, some grains have a low-glycemic index and will not cause a huge sugar spike in the body. These grains include barley, oatmeal, quinoa, and bulgur.
Whey protein is the protein left in the milk after the solids and fat are removed. You might consider whey as true ‘skim milk.’ Whey protein has been newly identified as inflammation-fighting food. In a 2001 study published in the Cancer Epidemiological Biomarkers Preview, researchers found that giving whey protein to rats with colon cancer reduced inflammation and lowered their incidence of colon cancer by about 20 percent.
Magnesium is another important nutrient that many Americans are lacking. Magnesium has many benefits, including brain-boosting powers. Magnesium can also fight inflammation in some cases. A 2007 study published in the American Society for Clinical Nutrition showed that women who ate magnesium-rich foods showed a reduction of systemic inflammation and endothelial dysfunction in healthy women over the age of 43. However, some research suggests that magnesium is best absorbed through the skin. In a study of magnesium supplement absorption from Baylor University Medical Center, it was found that only 7 percent was absorbed.
In a study of magnesium absorption through the skin from the University of Birmingham, it was found that soaking in a magnesium bath of 1 percent showed elevated magnesium levels in the blood and urine. Magnesium-rich foods include dark leafy greens, bananas, beans, lentils, and oats.
Foods to Avoid With Bursitis
It sounds cliché but it’s true: You are what you eat. If you suffer from inflammation, a healthy diet can help you heal faster and decrease the pain.
To begin with, avoiding excess sugar is one of the most important ways to stop inflammation. A small study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition in August 2015 has found that subjects who drank just one can of sugary soda per day for six months had higher levels of uric acid. The fructose in soft drinks may increase uric acid levels, which in turn, induces low-grade inflammation and insulin resistance.
The Arthritis Foundation states that saturated fats — found in foods like pizza, cheese, red meat and pasta — trigger inflammation too. It recommends avoiding these food products:
- Trans fats (doughnuts, cookies and stick margarine)
- Omega-6 fatty acids (mayonnaise and corn, safflower, sunflower, grapeseed, soy, peanut and vegetable oils)
- Refined carbs (french fries and white bread)
- MSG (found in some Asian foods, such as bottled sauces, and processed foods)
- Aspartame (diet soda and candy)
- Alcohol (beer, wine and liquor)
Additionally, you may have heard about treating calcific tendonitis with apple cider vinegar. Unfortunately, the Arthritis Foundation reports that research has not shown this to be an effective treatment for inflammation.
The specific type of protein that makes up legumes should be avoided by anyone dealing with inflammation in the joints because it cannot be properly digested by the human body. When this protein is inadequately broken down by the digestive enzymes in the body, an inflammatory response results.
Unlike some other types of foods, cooking legumes will not make them any easier to digest. Avoid beans, peanuts, soybeans, hummus, and other legumes to reduce inflammation.
Whole grains and high-fiber carbohydrates can be part of a healthy diet for people who suffer from bursitis, but take care when choosing bread or starchy vegetables. Refined starches that have been processed in a way that strips them of their nutritional value are common in the store because they have a longer shelf life and are more popular among consumers. However, these high-glycemic foods cause a spike in blood sugar that can even cause inflammation and lead to bursitis.
Not only do refined carbohydrates contribute to inflammation, but the failure of refined carbohydrates to keep a person feeling full after they eat often leads to overeating and obesity. Carrying around extra weight means that stress is put on the joints, and people who are overweight are at risk of developing bursitis.
Like refined carbohydrates, added sugars cause a spike in blood sugar that can cause inflammation or make it worse. Baked goods, candies, and soft drinks are all known to have added sugars, but there may be added sugars in other foods that would not be thought to have unhealthy additives.
Processed foods often utilize some type of sugar as a type of preservative, so learn to spot sugar by its many names in ingredient lists. Other names for sugar include beet sugar, cane sugar, cane juice, corn syrup, maltodextrin, and sorbitol. Remember that natural types of sugar like raw sugar or cane sugar still have negative effects on the human body.
Some foods contain vitamins and minerals that can reduce inflammation and make bursitis more manageable.
Vitamins in Bursitis Diet
Cell damage can make bursitis worse, so it is important to make sure that a diet includes vitamins that can help repair cell damage. Vitamin B is an ideal solution and can be found in foods that provide other health benefits as well.
Broccoli and spinach are known to have high quantities of vitamin B. Bananas are an ideal snack that provides vitamin B for people who are living with the pain and inflammation of bursitis.
People who may not have developed bursitis can eat a diet rich in vitamin C to strengthen the bursa sac and prevent the development of bursitis. The antioxidants in foods with high levels of vitamin C protect the bursa sac and help prevent inflammation or infection in this fluid-filled sac.
Healthy foods that provide a high amount of vitamin C include strawberries, kiwi, and oranges.
As with vitamin B, vitamin E protects against cell damage. Antioxidants are also present in foods with vitamin E, and most leafy greens contain a healthy dose of the vitamin.
Some fruits and vegetables contain different enzymes that can reduce or prevent inflammation in the human body. For example, pineapple contains an anti-inflammatory enzyme known as bromelain. Papaya contains an enzyme known as papain that is used as a meat tenderizer and can reduce
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fish, healthy oils, some types of nuts, and certain types of eggs. These fatty acids are thought to be necessary for maintaining a healthy metabolism, and the health benefits that can be enjoyed through the consumption of foods containing omega-3 fatty acids help with inflammation issues.
The vitamins, minerals, and enzymes that help with bursitis can be taken as a multi-vitamin or in a tablet form, but studies suggest that the highest number of health benefits can be enjoyed through the consumption of foods containing these substances. The absorption of vitamins, minerals, and certain enzymes is boosted by eating foods instead of taking a supplement.
Home Remedies For Bursitis
- Patients with elbow bursitis should rest and protect their elbow
- Ice packs are also a good way of reducing inflammation and pain. Wrap an ice pack in a towel and apply it to the affected area for 10-20 minutes. Repeat this every few hours
- An elastic compression bandage wrapped around the affected joint can help control swelling
- Keep the affected elbow at or above the height of the heart this can help reduce blood flow to the area, thereby reducing inflammation
- Avoid repetitive elbow motion and to do your activities without putting extra pressure on your elbows
- An elbow pad might be useful in making it easier to put the elbow on hard surfaces
Glucosamine is highly recommended when there is damage to the cartilage, since our body uses it to build ligaments and cartilage. It can take about 3 months to get a fair improvement. It works better when combined to a strong anti-inflammatory such as devil’s claw or arnica. The easiest glucosamine to assimilate is HCl and not glucosamine sulphate. The latter may contain salt (sodium), which is not recommended for people with high blood pressure.
Stinging Nettle is a cleansing plant. It is a blood tonic that brings nutriments to the cells while eliminating toxins. It is especially effective when there is a tendency for acid accumulation like in most cases of arthritis and osteoarthritis. Since it eliminates uric acids, it is also very helpful for gout. Stinging Nettle contains a lot of silica, a mineral that is very useful in the regeneration of conjunctive tissues. It then helps with damage to the ligaments, tendons and cartilage. It can be used long term.
In cases of bursitis, stinging nettle can even help prevent calcium deposit and the formation of spurs thanks to its high silica content.
Calcium Absorber (Urticalcin) promotes the assimilation of calcium and silica from supplements and foods. It is highly recommended for those who tend to have calcium deposits in the joints since it helps reverse the process. Calcium Absorber allows a redistribution of calcium where it is needed. Beware of calcium supplements since some types of calcium deposit more easily in joints. You should avoid calcium carbonate and favor calcium citrate or hydroxyapatite since the body seems able to handle them more efficiently. Always take magnesium along with calcium to maintain the equilibrium between these two minerals. Magnesium will make sure the calcium does not deposit in the joints and can even dissolve most deposits.
When suffering from bursitis you should never take more than 600 mg of calcium a day.
A.Vogel Joint Pain Relief is composed of devil’s claw, a plant that works at different levels of the inflammatory process. Researches show that devil’s claw effect on inflammation is equivalent to any conventional anti-inflammatory without the side effects. It is highly effective for rheumatoid arthritis since in the long term, it helps balance the immune reactions. Some conventional anti-inflammatory medications can irritate the stomach and damage the kidneys. Thanks to its detoxifying effect (essential in the treatment of arthritis), devil’s claw is beneficial to both liver and kidneys. It can be used short term or long term.
Absolüt Arnica gel is a topical arnica remedy, a very powerful anti-inflammatory. Absolüt Arnica is a phytotherapeutic gel, not a homeopathic one; it thus contains a high concentration of Arnica. This plant contains sesquiterpenes lactones that can stop the inflammatory process. Absolüt Arnica also blocks the cartilage destruction process and soothes osteoarthritis pain. A comparative study between Absolüt Arnica gel and a topical Ibuprofen gel proved that Absolüt Arnica gel is just as effective.
Supplements help heal the body, but the right diet and putting an end to repetitive movements are essential. Good health begins with the right food.
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