Healthy Joints: diet, activities, tips

Healthy Joints: diet, activities, tips

Joints are where the bones meet and are made up of a number of different parts that all work together so that we can bend, stretch, twist and turn easily. Healthy joints make us feel young and energetic. Staying active and eating a nutritious diet is a great start. - 7 min read

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Most of our joints are designed to enable different parts of our body to move only in certain directions.

With such a significant role to play in our mobility, it is important to care for and support our joints through regular exercise, lifestyle choices and a nutritionally balanced diet.

Unfortunately, joint pain is a frequent problem with many possible common causes such as injury or arthritis.

How to Care for Your Joints

Caring for your joints early will help to maintain mobility, essential for your active lifestyle.

Keep A Healthy Diet

Healthy joints make us feel young and energetic. Staying active and eating a nutritious diet is a great start.

We know you love your busy and active lifestyle and want to keep it that way for as long as possible. To do so, it is important to maintain healthy, flexible joints that will keep you feeling young and agile.

  • Physical activity is most often recommended for maintaining joint health, but diet also affects your joints, much more than you would expect it to.

To understand the impact of our diet on joints, it is important to understand how they function and what causes wear and tear:

Our bodies have several types of joints, but the ones that we most associate with voluntary movement are called freely movable joints, such as those found in the knees, hips, elbows, and shoulders.

When we complain about achy joints, these are the ones we are usually referring to. These joints contain cartilage, which keep bones from rubbing together, and synovial fluid, which lubricates joints for smooth movement, much like oil on a creaking door hinge.

  • As we get older, evidence suggests that cartilage deteriorates1, depriving our bodies of their natural shock absorber.

The exact cause is unknown, however, age, obesity, joint injury, and genetics are thought to increase the risk of its development.2

  • To ensure joints are healthy, it helps to lose weight and stay active, especially with low-impact exercise.

  • Strong muscles are also important to joint health, and muscles need for maintenance and growth.

  • How much protein you will need depends on your age, sex, and activity level, but you will find it in nuts, soy products, beans, seafood, and lean meat.

Eating a healthy and balanced diet will provide you with nutrients that your body needs and help you to maintain a healthy weight.

Your diet should consist of a variety of foods from all foods from the food groups below:

  • Fruit and vegetables

  • Starchy foods – such as bread, rice, potatoes, and pasta

  • Meat

  • Fish

  • Eggs

  • Beans

  • Milk and dairy,

  • Foods containing fat and sugar

Exercise Daily

Being overweight means there is excess pressure on the joints in your hips, knees, ankles, and feet leading to increased mobility and feet leading to decreased mobility.

Although you may not want to exercise, being active can help to reduce and prevent pain. It can also improve your range of movement and joint mobility, increase muscle strength, boost energy, and reduce stiffness.

  • Keeping your weight within a healthy range is one of the best things you can do.

Weight-bearing joints, such as your knees, hips, and back, must support some, if not all, of your body weight.

  • Strong muscles support your joints, so strength training can help in this area3.

Be careful not to exceed your body’s limits though, as too much impact and exertion can end up doing more damage than good to your joints.

Take Supplements To Support An Active Lifestyle

Many people can also take supplements alongside a balanced diet. To help you choose the right nutrient supplements for you, please consult a healthcare professional.

The following nutrients are proven to be beneficial to joint health;

  • Vitamin D helps support the maintenance of normal muscle function.

  • Manganese helps maintain normal formation of connective tissue.

  • Vitamin C contributes to normal collagen formation for the normal function of bones and cartilage.

  • Vitamin E contributes to the protection of cells from oxidative stress.

  • Copper contributes to the maintenance of normal connective tissues and the normal functioning of the nervous system.

In addition, Glucosamine and Chrondroitin sulphate are structural components.

How to Deal with Joint Pain

According to the NHS osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis6 and causes joints to become painful and stiff. It is important to see your GP if you have persistent symptoms of osteoarthritis – the most common of which are swelling, tenderness and a grating or crackling sound when moving the affected joints.

Rheumatoid arthritis is less common and presents as a long-term condition that causes pain, swelling and stiffness in the joints. The symptoms usually affect your hands, feet, and wrists. Reduced joint mobility is associated with the aging process, however if you are concerned about your joint health, please consult a healthcare professional for further advice.

Vitamin C contributes to normal collagen formation for the normal function of cartilage.

Vitamin D helps to maintain normal bones and normal muscle function.

Manganese contributes to the normal formation of connective tissue.

References:

  1. Li Y, Wei X, Zhou J, Wei L. The age-related changes in cartilage and osteoarthritis. Biomed Res Int. 2013;2013:916530.

  2. NHS UK. 2019. Osteoarthritis. [online] Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/osteoarthritis/ [Accessed 15 November 2020].

  3. Latham N, Liu CJ. Strength training in older adults: the benefits for osteoarthritis. Clin Geriatr Med. 2010;26(3):445-459. doi:10.1016/j.cger.2010.03.006

Disclaimer: Food Supplements should not replace a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.

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