Our joints are a complex environment of bone, muscle, ligaments and cartilage. They are pivotal to our everyday movements, allowing us to twist, turn, stretch and bend. Typically inflammation can arise within our joints due to injury, arthritis, osteoporosis and ageing. It’s this inflammation that causes pain and discomfort.As such, it is important to look after our joints. Allowing us to stay mobile for longer and as we go through the ageing process.
How nutrition can help
Good nutrition helps by reducing inflammation and providing the building blocks that our bodies need to build stronger, healthier bones. Following a balanced diet and limiting intake of saturated fats and processed foods will also help maintain a healthy weight. This in turn will limit unnecessary pressure on joints.
There is overwhelming evidence to suggest that anti-inflammatory foods, such as oats, dark chocolate and blueberries can help reduce inflammation and help with pain, enabling us maintain our mobility. Ginger and turmeric, have excellent anti-inflammatory properties and can be added to meals for flavouring.
Omega 3 essential fatty acids can also aid with our mobility since their anti-inflammatory properties help to relieve joint pain. Our bodies cannot produce these fatty acids, so we have to obtain them from our diet. This can be done by consuming oily fish such as salmon, mackerel or tuna, and by increasing consumption of nuts and seeds, such as walnuts and flaxseeds.
Vitamin C is used in the manufacture and utilisation of collagen, the production of which naturally slows down as we age. You can thank this process for wrinkles, sagging skin and weaker cartilage in your joints! Diets high in sugar, smoking, and too much sun exposure also contribute to depleting our collagen levels. Increasing your intake of vitamin C can help combat collagen depletion. Foods rich in vitamin C include oranges, strawberries, red peppers and dark leafy vegetables, such as kale and spinach.
Getting enough calcium is also vital, since it helps to build stronger bones and reduces the risk of osteoporosis; go for calcium rich foods such as yogurt, figs, kale and bony fish, such as anchovies and sardines.
However, while eating a nutrient-dense diet is important, it is also just as vital to exercise regularly to keep our joints mobile. Opt for low impact sports such as walking, swimming and yoga.