Joint pain is a very common problem with many possible causes. 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 can nutrition support joint health?
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.
How can supplements support joint health?
There are many joint health products available but my number one choice has to be LithoLexal Marine Plant Extract, which supports the joint repair process and is scientifically formulated to reduce inflammation and support natural cartilage formation. LithoLexal® products are different from traditional calcium supplements which are rock-based and hard for the body to absorb. LithoLexal® are the only joint health supplement to use a unique marine plant-based extract, which is far superior to the rock-based ingredient used in generic calcium products. The formulation also provides manganese and vitamin C to support natural collagen formation and the development of cartilage. Another important nutrient used within the LithoLexal formulation is Vitamin D, which is necessary for the absorption of calcium, magnesium and other minerals. Many people in the UK are deficient, even in the summer months and are recommended to supplement. Deficiency symptoms include bone pain, muscular weakness and osteoporosis. LithoLexal® Marine Plant Extract was clinically proven to improve pain, stiffness and mobility of joints in a 12-week placebo-controlled clinical trial which compared the effects of LithoLexal® to glucosamine supplementation.
Moroccan Vegetable and Chickpea Tagine
I developed this recipe in collaboration with Litholexal specifically to target bone and joint health. The pepper, tomatoes and aubergine in this recipe provide vitamin C, supporting collagen production which naturally slows down as we age. The chickpeas provide calcium and magnesium, which helps to build stronger bones and reduces the risk of osteoporosis.
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp ground coriander
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 courgette, chopped
- 1 aubergine, chopped
- 4 vine tomatoes, chopped
- 400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 250ml lamb bone broth
- 2 tbsp harissa
- 4 prunes, pitted and sliced
- flat-leaf parsley chopped to serve
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- Olive oil
- Fry the onion and garlic in a spray of olive oil for 5 minutes
- Add the spices and fry for a minute until fragrant.
- Add the veg, and fry for 8-10 minutes until they’re coated in the spices and start to take on some colour.
- Add the chickpeas, broth, harissa and prunes.
- Season and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
- Scatter over the parsley and serve with cauliflower rice or quinoa.