You rely on your joints to lift things and put them away, walk to your mailbox or bend down to pick something up. Since all of these actions are vital to your health, you want to do everything you can to keep your joints healthy, including eating well. One food source that has positives and negatives for joint health is cheese. By knowing the benefits and possible inflammatory conditions, you can decide whether cheese is right for your diet. Talk to your doctor if you are concerned about how cheese could affect your joints.
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Your Joints and Food Allergies
Food allergies, including cheese, have been connected to inflammatory conditions that affect your joints, such as arthritis. Each person’s sensitivities to foods are different, which means your body could be sensitive or allergic to the dairy proteins present in cheeses. When your body has an allergic reaction, it perceives the proteins in cheese as something dangerous to your body, much like bacteria or germs.
If you suspect cheese may be causing joint pain, your physician might recommend an elimination diet, which involves refraining from eating cheese for several weeks and seeing whether your symptoms improve. Your physician also may be able to perform allergy testing that measures the amount of inflammatory compounds your body produces when you eat cheese. If your body is sensitive to cheeses, your physician might recommend avoiding them to prevent inflammation, including joint inflammation.
Probiotics and Your Joints
Not all cheeses are meant to cause inflammation in your body. Some cheeses contain health-promoting bacteria known as probiotics, according to “Arthritis Today” magazine. The inflammatory joint condition known as rheumatoid arthritis is associated with reduced probiotic bacteria in the stomach. These bacteria can promote good health and reduce the inflammation that can cause joint pain. Probiotics are found in bleu and strong-smelling cheeses. By incorporating these into your diet, you may help reduce related joint pain.
Cheese as a Calcium Source
In addition to probiotic benefits, cheese has calcium, which is vital to healthy bones. Calcium keeps your bones from becoming soft and breakable, and helps your muscles function. Since your joints are made of bone, you need calcium in your daily diet. Cheese sources such as cheddar cheese have 307 milligrams per 1.5-ounce serving, while mozzarella cheese has 333 for the same serving size. If you are age 19 to 50, you will need 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day; women 51 and older and men 71 and older need 1,200 milligrams of calcium per day, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements. By eating cheese regularly, you can help to maintain healthy bones and joints.