Our bodies were made to move. In fact, they thrive when we live an active lifestyle.
Exercise should make us feel powerful and strong (even if we need to work through a few muscle aches in the beginning). If, on the other hand, being active leaves us with joint aches and pains, this is a sign to take drastic action.
Whilst joint weakening is a natural sign of aging, there are many steps you can take to keep your joints as healthy as possible, for as long as possible. Osteoarthritis does not need to be the final destination. Aging isn’t the only factor to consider however. Genetics, diet, lifestyle, obesity, and even a sports injury can all play a role in the development of joint aches and pains.
For the many causes of joint aches and pains, we have a number of solutions we recommend you consider, to get you moving freely and comfortably.
Diet Changes for Joint Health
It would be impossible not to speak about diet when it comes to any health-related condition. Diet can play a pivotal role in just about any health condition. A balanced, nutrient-dense diet will provide the body with the tools it needs to prevent damage to the joints.
- Refined carbohydrates and processed fats. We’ve heard it before, but these foods are inflammatory in the body. Inflammation leads to accelerated aging and degeneration of the joints. Limit these foods as much as possible.
- Oily Fish. Oily fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines and mackerel are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which are anti-inflammatory. Aim to eat one serving of these foods per week. If you prefer not to eat fish, you can use a plant-based source such as chia seeds, flaxseed oil and walnuts.
- Leafy Greens. Spinach, Kale, Chard and Collard Greens are rich in vitamin D, as well as phytochemicals and antioxidants. These are all powerful anti-inflammatories. Broccoli, as another green to include, is rich in vitamins K and C, Calcium and a compound called sulforaphane. Sulforaphane is believed to slow the progression of osteoarthritis.
- Nuts and Seeds. Nuts and seeds are great for the heart and are nutrient-dense. They contain high levels of bone-building calcium, magnesium, zinc, vitamin E and fiber. They also contain a potent immune supportive nutrient called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).
- Bone Broth. Bone broth made from grass-fed beef or free-range non-GMO chicken bones is the ideal food for your joints. It is anti-inflammatory, rich in immune-boosting nutrients, and provides digestible collagen. Collagen provides the essential amino acids that your body needs to rebuild healthy joint tissue.
Supplements for Joint Health
There are a number of reasons why a healthy diet may not be enough to undo all of the damage done to joints over time. If a healthy diet rich in nutrition is not taking away your aches and pains, you may consider supplementing with the following:
- Hydrolyzed Collagen. As mentioned above, collagen provides the baseline amino acids necessary to build healthy joint tissue. It is an important part of the treatment protocol. There are numerous benefits to supplementing with Collagen over and above joint health, so this is one supplement you may want to read more on!
- Omega 3. Researchers have found that supplementing with as little as 1g of Omega 3 fatty acids daily can reduce the pain of osteoarthritis. Omega 3 fatty acids again carry many benefits beyond simply being anti-inflammatory. If you are unable to consume omega 3 rich sources daily, a supplement is highly recommended.
- Vitamin D3. As another essential anti-inflammatory nutrient, vitamin D3 also plays an important role in bone health. You can get Vitamin D3 from our glorious sunshine. However, if you are not actively taking time to enjoy the sunshine, get your vitamin D3 level checked via blood test and consider supplementing appropriately.
- Curcumin. Curcumin, as the active-component in Turmeric Root, is widely studied for its anti-inflammatory benefits. Whilst it may not serve to regenerate the tissue, it will provide relief from pain and soothe the inflammation
- Glucosamine Chondroitin MSM. This wonderful combination of nutrients is very effective at reducing pain and inflammation. They are also effective at supporting hydration and repair of cartilage.
When it comes to protecting our joints from early degeneration, prevention is best. Aim to live a healthy lifestyle incorporating a balanced diet and regular exercise. When prevention has, well, not happened, then all hope is not lost. Incorporate the diet and supplement recommendations above and build towards reclaiming pain-free motion in your joints.
If you liked this article, and want to know more about Exercise Recovery and how to improve your recovery time between exercises, read our related article here: Recover Better, Faster and Stronger!