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Eat These 16 Foods to Stop Bursitis

Do you get 'tennis elbow,' or have frequent knee or hip pain? It could be bursitis. These 16 foods will help prevent bursitis flare-ups from the source.
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Do you have tender joints after engaging in certain activities? Do you suffer from “tennis elbow,” bunions, or frequent knee pain? You could have bursitis.

Bursitis is an inflammation of the joint that is caused by stress on the joint, but there is also a hidden factor to the root cause of bursitis that many people are unaware of. By changing this one thing, you can make your bursitis symptoms disappear within a few weeks.

What is Bursitis, Really?

Bursitis is a somewhat odd ailment that has its root in several different causes. The bursa is a sac filled with fluid that helps prevent joints from rubbing against each other. The bursa sac is basically a cushion for the joints. However, although bursitis is related to arthritis, it is considered a separate issue. When someone gets bursitis, the sac fills with extra fluid, leading to pain, swelling, tenderness, and inflammation.

Typical causes for bursitis include repetitive motion and stress on the joints. Injuries, overuse, inflammation in the body, and extended pressure on the joint can also contribute to bursitis. Bursitis is typically considered a mild ailment, but there are ways to prevent the issue from occurring. Chronic bursitis can be nearly as debilitating as severe arthritis.

Common Occupations Leading to Bursitis

  • Manual workers
  • Athletes
  • Sedentary jobs

Bursitis Statistics

Approximately one in every 32 people have bursitis of some kind, which equals about 3.2 percent in the United States. It is estimated by Right Diagnosis.com, that there are about 87 million people in the United States who suffer from bursitis of some kind. These issues include common joint and inflammation issues including:

Types of Bursitis
  • Student's elbow or tennis elbow
  • Bunions
  • Housemaid's knee - caused by kneeling
  • Knee bursitis
  • Elbow bursitis
  • Hip bursitis
  • Coachman's bottom- caused by extended sitting on hard surfaces
  • Shoulder bursitis

Bursitis Causes

Generally, bursitis is caused by environmental factors and stress on the joints. However, if your body is already conditioned for inflammation, it is possible that you will see the effects of bursitis sooner. Anyone can get bursitis after engaging in repetitive motions, but if you reduce inflammation in your body overall, you will be able to reduce your chances of feeling pain from bursitis. You may be able to remove your pain level completely, or at least reduce it enough to continue to engage in regular, everyday activities.

Foods that Fight Bursitis

Did you know that the foods that you eat can reduce the amount of inflammation that you see in your body? Basically, if you eat foods that have an inflaming or stressing effect on the body, any extra stress on the body will lead to pain and swelling. Think of it like an allergy. If you are allergic to shellfish, then the more shellfish you eat the worse your allergy symptoms will become. The same effect is true with inflaming foods. The more inflaming foods you eat, the higher your chances of seeing inflammation-related pain in your body- such as bursitis or arthritis.

Luckily, there are plenty of things you can eat that will reduce the inflaming effect of foods on your body. There are also several highly inflaming foods that you should avoid, including vegetable oils and unsaturated fats, processed foods, and High-glycemic foods  like empty carbohydrates (white bread, for example) and simple sugars.

So, what should you eat instead? Add these inflammation-reducing foods to your diet to ensure you avoid painful bursitis symptoms:

Vitamin C

Everyone knows vitamin C is good for them and helps build the immune system, but it actually has more functions than that in the body. According to a 2008 study conducted by the University of California, vitamin C lowers concentrations of C-reactive protein (CRP), which lead to inflammation. If your CRP levels are higher than normal, ensuring you get enough vitamin C is an effective way of reducing inflammation, according to the study. Vitamin C also helps regenerate damaged tissues and cells, which could make your bursa sacs stronger. Foods with vitamin C include citrus fruits, bell peppers, parsley, dark greens, and kiwi fruit.


Pineapple contains the powerful enzyme bromelain, which is an inflammation-fighting ingredient. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, one study showed that a combination of bromelain, trypsin, and rutosid (two other inflammation-reducing enzymes) was as effective as NSAID medication treating knee pain. Pineapple also helps make protein digestion easier.


Papaya contains a beneficial enzyme known as papain. Papain is a highly effective anti-inflammatory agent that was proven in a 2001 study conducted by the Second Tashkent State Medical Institute to provide as strong of an anti-inflammatory effect as butadion and indomethacin.

Dark Greens

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.

Low-glycemic Grains

Most grains have a high glycemic index, which can lead to inflammation in the body. However, there are some grains that 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

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 an inflammation-fighting food. In a 2001 study published in the Cancer Epidemiological Biomarkers Preview, researchers found that giving whey protein to rats with color 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, there is some research that suggests that magnesium is best absorbed through the skin. In a 1191 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.

Herbs to Relieve Bursitis Symptoms

If your bursitis symptoms are severe, you will probably want to add some of these inflammation-fighting supplements to your diet. These herbs and supplements can help fight inflammation even when your diet is less than ideal. It is important to continue to eat a healthy diet, however, to truly reduce your bursitis symptoms and prevent bursitis from occurring on a regular basis. So what herbs and supplements should you add to your diet? The University of Maryland recommends the following supplements:


Supplements for Bursitis 
  • White Willow: White willow has effects similar to aspirin. Boil 2 grams of bark into 8 ounces of water and drink up to 5 cups of tea a day. This will help fight any inflammation in the body and will help flare-ups heal faster.
  • Boswellia: Take 150 mg three times a day to fight inflammation.
  • Turmeric: Turmeric is an anti-swelling and inflammation supplement that is highly effective. Take about 375 mg two or three times a day to stop bursitis flare-ups and start feeling normal sooner.
  • Arnica: Take this homeopathic remedy if your bursitis is caused by an injury to the joint.
  • Bellis perennis: Take this after a bruising bursitis injury.
  • Fish oil or flaxseed supplement: Take 1,000 mg two or three times a day. Fish oil and flaxseed oil contain the helpful Omega-3 fatty acids. These fight inflammation and also help reduce the effects of other inflammatory ingredients on the body.
  • Glucosamine sulfate: Take 500 mg two or three times a day. This is a part of natural cartilage that helps reduce the inflammation for bursitis specifically.

Stopping Bursitis Before It Starts

Like many troubles that Americans face these days, much of the health problem of bursitis is caused by excessive inflammation in the body. Cut down on inflammation and you will see fewer bursitis flare-ups. You can also help prevent bursitis flare-ups by taking care of your joints. If you start to feel pain during an activity, stop for a while, if possible. At work, where it is often hard to move around or change activities, try changing how you sit, take frequent movement breaks, or try to do your jobs in a way that doesn’t place stress on the same joints over and over. This will help you keep your bursa sac functioning appropriately, and it will help you manage your risk of bursitis and prevent flare-ups before they begin.





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