GUEST POST BY MATHEW FOSTER
Contrary to common belief, achy joints are not an inevitable by-product of old age. By eating the right foods and following a proper diet, one can maintain strong, healthy joints and bones, and a fit, active lifestyle well into the twilight years. Read on to find out my top nutrition tips for healthy joints.
What NOT to eat
First of all, here are the foods you shouldn’t be munching on if you want to reduce joint pain and discomfort. Some food groups like dairy, sugar, wheat and caffeine possess inflammatory properties which can aggravate swelling and pain in your joints. Luckily, there are substitutes for most of these foods. For example, you can replace cow’s milk with a growing number of milk alternatives such as coconut, oat, hazelnut, soy or almond milk.
Other foods suspected to worsen symptoms of joint pain include nightshade and citrus fruit. Among nightshade foods are tomatoes, potatoes, chillies and peppers. And in the citrus fruit category fruits like orange, tangerine, lime and lemon among others.
Finally, purines (constituents of the proteins in foods like certain organ meats, some shellfish, and meat extracts such as marmite and gravy) can contribute to the formation of the crystals known to result in gout. So it’s smart to avoid these as well if you want to keep your joints pain-free.
We’ve looked at the foods that tend to promote swelling and inflammation in the joints, but what about the reverse, i.e. foods that reduce inflammation? Some of the best foods you can eat here are things like garlic, ginger and turmeric.
Fresh ginger can even be rubbed straight onto aching joints, or you can make a poultice out of it which will enable you to reduce swelling. Some other good anti-inflammatory foods are fish, seeds and oils – largely because of the Omega 3 they contain.
H2O for Healthy Joints
One of the easiest ways to promote healthy joints is to drink plenty of water. Not only does it flush toxins out of your body, keeping your immune system in prime condition, but it also keeps your joints well hydrated. The recommended daily water intake is at least 8 glasses.
Fruits and vegetables
Eating a wide range of fruits and vegetables will also keep your immune system in top shape (just remember to avoid nightshade veggies and citrus fruits, though). Strawberries, blueberries and cherries are especially beneficial for joint and therefore knee health because they include quercetin, a natural antihistamine and anti-inflammatory.
Go free range
Free range chicken and eggs are good foods for your joints, as they contain amino acids that (once again) promote immune system health and strong bones and joints. Head down to your local farmer’s market or organic health store and see what’s on offer.
Foods for stronger bones and joints
When it comes to stronger bones and joints, here you should look for foods that contain calcium and vitamin C. Other essential ingredients for strong bones and joints are magnesium and vitamin D.
Vitamin D can be found in eggs, milk, tuna and cheese, while magnesium can be found in nuts, fish, brown leafy vegetables and brown rice. Milk, broccoli, kale, sardines and almonds are high in calcium, and fruits like strawberries, cherries, black currants, papaya and kiwis contain a lot of vitamin C.
Finally, if you can’t get all the nutrients required for healthy bones from your diet, you may have to resort to taking supplements or a good multi-vitamin. Glucosamine and chondroitin are two good supplements to take, as they help maintain strong, healthy cartilages. Fish oil supplements are also an abundant source of Omega 3 if you are not able to get enough through food.
Maintaining Healthy Joints
So there you have it, some nutrition tips for healthier joints and stronger bones. Just remember, everything is better in moderation, so balance out the types of foods you eat and supplements you take and you should be well on your way to healthier joints.
Article by Mathew Foster: Knee health advocate and owner of KneeSafe.com. Mathew blogs about everything from tips for healthy knees to how to choose the best knee pads for your needs. You can find him blogging on KneeSafe or on social media as @KneeSafe across all platforms.