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Guilt Free, Holiday Eating with Foods for Orthopedic Health

Food and nutrition play a significant role in your orthopedic and musculoskeletal health. This holiday season, while you’re indulging in food and drink with family and friends, keep in mind that certain foods are known to build and support healthy bones. Other foods inhibit healing, cause inflammation and add weight, putting added stress on hips, knees, spines.

Orthopedic-healthy foods to enhance your holidays

By opting for foods for orthopedic health, that are rich in nutrition and are known inflammation reducers, you can enjoy a guilt free, healthy holiday. Try eating some of the following foods this holiday to help keep your bones and body happy.

Dairy, fish and calcium

Milk, yogurt, cheese, salmon and sardines. For building bone tissue and bone strength, the calcium in dairy and fish is critical for orthopedic health.

Vitamin D

Kale, eggs, nuts, beans and cold-water fish. The vitamin D in these foods helps the body absorb needed calcium, and the extra Omega-3s in fish helps lower triglycerides.

Nuts and Seeds

Walnuts, pine nuts, pistachios and almonds contain monosaturated fats (that’s the good kind). These protein- and fiber-filled goodies fill you up for weight-loss benefits too. Almonds and walnuts are also a great source of calcium.


Pinto, black, red kidney and garbanzo. Chock-full of fiber, magnesium, iron, protein and folic acid, beans are an abundant source of nutrients. Red kidney beans are particularly calcium-rich, a boon for your bones.

Whole grains

Oatmeal, brown rice and whole grain cereals. These foods lower C-reactive protein (CRP) in the blood which is a marker for high-inflammation.


Lean red meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, lentils, kidney beans, soy and nuts. Protein is essential for the growth of bones in childhood and adolescence. It also preserves bone mass while aging.

Fruits and Vegetables

Rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, studies have also shown that higher fruit and vegetable consumption is associated with beneficial effects on bone density. In particular, the following fruits and vegetables pack an added nutritional punch:

Kale, spinach, swiss chard and collard greens

All are high sources of calcium and bone-friendly vitamin K, which support bone health and fight inflammation.

Broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cabbage

Broccoli is high in calcium, and as part of the cruciferous family, this trio contains a compound which is believed to help slow cartilage damage in joints due to osteoarthritis.

Figs and berries

Figs contain more calcium than two glasses of skim milk and blueberries, blackberries strawberries and cherries are rich in anti-oxidants, which reduce inflammation.


Steer clear of these foods for improved orthopedic health

“I can resist anything except temptation,” famously uttered Oscar Wilde. If this quote rings true for you over the holidays, do your best to exercise moderation. Just try and remember that good nutrition is closely tied to bone, muscle and joint health. Practice self care by treating your body right, and eat these foods sparingly:

Processed foods

Cookies, chips and frozen meals. Many of these foods are high in trans- and saturated fats which are linked to high inflammation.


Salt causes fluid retention, weight gain and high blood pressure. Watch your intake, check labels, and put down the salt shaker.


Desserts, pastries, sodas. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, processed sugar such as fructose and sucrose trigger the body into an inflammation crisis. Leave those cookies for Santa and moderate your intake to keep your weight in check, too.

Refined Carbohydrates

White flour, white rice and white potatoes. These foods are very high on the glycemic index, and are known to stimulate inflammation. Take care of your joints, bones and overall orthopedic health by cutting back now and year-round.

Be smart when making food choices this holiday season. It’s not as hard as you may think.

Have a happy and healthy holiday season from all of the doctors, physician assistants and staff at Puget Sound Orthopaedics.


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