Why looking after your joints is important?
Because healthy joints allow you to freely and painlessly move your fingers, toes, knees, ankles and other parts of your body. There are plenty of factors and health conditions that detrimentally affect pain free movement. Arthritis, gout, being overweight or obese to name a few. Inflammation is common for all the above mentioned, and very often the most common cause of painful joints.
Pregnancy may also cause joint pain. Increased weight of your growing baby puts pressure on your joints such as knees and hips and you may experience some pain.
Good nutrition is essential for joint health. I am going to provide you with some general tips on how to nourish your joints via diet and what supplements might be beneficial. Please, bear in mind all those tips are general. Each person is an individual, and may need a specific personalised plan.
Diet advice (right food is your best medicine!)
- Decrease inflammation (thus pain) by following anti-inflammatory diet such as Mediterranean style. Include plenty of vegetables, some fruits, olive oil and fish. Plant based foods have been shown to reduce inflammation
- Lubricate your joints by including healthy fats in your diet. By healthy fats I mean oily fish (sardines, trout, salmon – 2 portions a week), avocado, nuts and seeds, olive oil and coconut.
What foods should be avoided to reduce joint pain? I know, sugar in on the list again! The general rule is to limit or cut out foods that may cause inflammation
- Refined grains such as white flour (yes it does mean you should ditch the yummy toast with jam for breakfast, your joints will thank you later!)
- Excess of processed meat, and meat in general, as well as dairy
- Trans fat are best to be avoided too (take-away meals, pastries, shop bought cakes and biscuits, the list is long!) read my blog about fats to find out more
If you cleaned up your diet, and you are still experiencing pain, it would be worth looking at your gut health. It is difficult to get a good absorption of minerals if you have low stomach acid. There is also a link between increased gut permeability and joint pain, however gut health is a topic on its own for another blog.
Supplements advice (supplements meant to supplement your healthy and balanced diet, not replace it)
- Fish oil, the health benefits are attributed to their omega 3 fatty acid content (anti-inflammatory). Please remember when buying fish oil make sure it is derived from fish tissue, not liver (especially is you are planning pregnancy or are pregnant as excess of vitamin A is not recommended)
- Collagen, collagen supplementation can help with join pain, stiffness and inflammation (ligament tissue is very collagen rich). It may also help with lubrication, regeneration of cartilage tissue, promote collagen synthesis and prevent breakdown.
- Vitamin D, low levels are linked to joint pain. Check your levels with your GP before you start supplementation. Vitamin D helps maintain healthy level of calcium and magnesium which are essential for bone health
- Vitamin C, it has been shown that intake of vitamin C reduces the risk of cartilage loss and decreases the risk of developing osteoarthritis (joint disease). Vitamin C also helps your body to make collagen. Eat citrus fruit, cabbage, lettuce, brussel sprouts and asparagus
- Glucosamine and chondroitin, both have anti-inflammatory properties, may help cartilage regeneration, glucosamine is naturally found in bone broths
- Other nutrients beneficial to support connective tissue are calcium, magnesium, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, boron
If you are living a sedentary lifestyle keep your joints flexible by regularly exercising. Low impact exercises such as walking and swimming is gentle on the joints. Getting outside to benefit from vitamin D is also very important.
For personalised plan, get in touch with Marta at Smarta Nutrition, 07707 63 8781, [email protected]
To consult your Musculoskeletal Health, get in touch with Dr Shubasis Basu, 0 161 413 6227, [email protected], www.w27imaging.co.uk/dr-subhasis-basu/