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Food for Joints!

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When we watch contestants vigorously train on Dancing With the Stars and marvel at Tiger Woods’ athletic recent comeback to the winner’s circle, we realize we are not alone when it comes to joint troubles and injuries.

The good news is our food choices can help alleviate inflammation and joint pain!

Did you know chronic pain is the number one cause of long-term disability in America? Research reports 100 million Americans suffer from joint pain, aches or stiffness. One in every 10 people experiences pain every day for three months or more.

Joint pain is marked by chronic inflammation in the joint and surrounding tissue. A nutrition-based collaboration between doctors and patients is proving productive. Basically, patients adjust their diets by recognizing and eliminating foods that trigger pain.

We know certain ingredients support healthy joints, from omega-3 rich nuts and seeds to lean poultry, oily fish, and beans. Colorful fruits like berries and red apples to dark leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables are beneficial, as are antioxidant-rich ginger, turmeric, and extra virgin olive oil.

Here are three simple recipes that taste good and will help soothe your joints:

Healthy Pumpkin Soup


  • 2 chopped medium onions
  • 3 chopped large garlic cloves
  • 1 T coconut (or avocado oil)
  • 2 cups broth
  • 2-1/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup canned full fat coconut milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tsp soy sauce (or Bragg’s liquid aminos)


  1. Preheat a medium-sized pot on low-medium heat and swirl oil to coat. Add onions and garlic, cover and cook until translucent, stirring occasionally. Add pumpkin pie spice and cook another 30 seconds, stirring frequently.
  2. Add broth, pumpkin puree, coconut milk, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover and cook on low heat for 15-20 minutes.
  3. Turn off heat. Use an immersion blender to blend until smooth and creamy.
  4. Serve hot, topped with roasted pumpkin seeds if desired. *

*To roast pumpkin seeds: Preheat medium-size skillet on low heat. Add seeds and cook until toasted, stirring occasionally. Add soy sauce, quickly stir to coat and toast for a few more seconds. Remove from heat.

Soup may be refrigerated covered, up to five days. Freeze in an airtight container up to three months.


Salmon & Asparagus with Lemon-Garlic Butter Sauce

Serves 4


  • 1 pound center-cut salmon fillet, preferably wild, cut into 4 portions
  • 1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 3 T butter
  • 1 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 T grated garlic
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 1 T lemon juice


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat a large rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Place salmon on one side of the prepared baking sheet and asparagus on the other. Sprinkle the salmon and asparagus with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat butter, oil, garlic, lemon zest and lemon juice in a small skillet over medium heat until the butter is melted. Drizzle the butter mixture over the salmon and asparagus. Bake until salmon is cooked through and the asparagus is just tender, 12 to 15 minutes.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Ready in 25 minutes

Clean Green Bento Box Lunch 6 Servings

Salad Ingredients:

  • 1 kabocha squash, halved, quartered and thinly sliced into 1/2 inch moons, skin-on
  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1-1/2 cups cooked and cooled leftover whole grains (like brown rice, freekeh, or quinoa)
  • 2 cups curly or Tuscan kale leaves, finely chopped (remove tough stems)
  • 1 apple, cored and sliced into 3/4 inch pieces (Fuji, Gala, or Braeburn)
  • 1/4 cup raw pepitas (pumpkin) seeds
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 T Apple Cider-Honey Vinaigrette

Vinaigrette Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup unfiltered apple cider vinegar
  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 T Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp raw or manuka honey


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. In a large bowl, toss squash with olive oil until well coated. Spread squash out in an even layer across the baking sheet. Each piece must touch the pan surface to ensure even browning. Sprinkle with sea salt. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes, flip the squash and roast another 20 minutes on the other side. When squash is fork-tender, remove from oven and set aside to cool.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk all the vinaigrette ingredients together.
  4. While squash is roasting, make the salad. In a large bowl, add the vinaigrette, leftover grains, and kale. Toss gently to coat.
  5. Add the cooled squash, apple slices, and pumpkin seeds to top off. Toss well to coat. Place into your bento box, cover and complete as desired.* This winter salad holds and travels well. Store in a fridge before eating.

*Top bento box with a side of nuts, seeds, fermented pickles, and fresh fruit if desired.

Change up your routine and add easy-to-make meals that are delicious, healthy and good for those joints!

Happy eating!

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