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Support healthy joints

Not many people think about nourishing their skeleton, one could easily assume that once your bones are formed they are there for good. But conditions such as ospteoporosis, where the bones weaken, and arthritis, where there is inflammation in the joints, show us that bones are delicate tissue, which are constantly being rebuilt, and rely on adequate nutrition in order to do so sufficiently.

Although these conditions may be considered by some as a natural result of ageing, there is lots that can be done diet and lifestyle wise to protect the health of your joints:

The single most common cause of pain is inflammation – the redness and swelling that are the immune system’s way of responding to any kind of challenge, such as infection or an imbalance in the system. Antioxidant nutrients help reduce inflammation so be sure to include anti-inflammatory foods such as berries, turmeric, ginger, oily fish and avocado into the diet. Reduce pro-inflammatory foods red meat, alcohol, fried foods and sugar.

Any inflammation in the body is a signal that the immune system is being challenged. This could be due to an infection, be it viral or bacterial. Things to help our immune system include antibacterial herbs such as ginger and garlic, getting adequate protein, reducing stimulants and including plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Chronic stress can weaken our immune system over time so it is worth exploring stress management techniques such as mindfulness, meditation, walking in nature, to help support your immune system.

Get down to a healthy weight. Excess weight creates extra burden for our joints. Working towards a healthy weight for you can protect your joints against damage, as well as lower the risk of many other chronic health conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Get moving. Exercise is a key player in maintaining a healthy weight and preserving healthy joint function by strengthening muscles around the joints, enhancing local circulation, and raising levels of natural pain killers.

Epsom bath salts can be helpful for tired, achey bodies. Hot water allows the magnesium-rich salts to penetrate tissues, relaxing sore muscles and bringing relief to stiff joints. Don’t go light, add a quarter cup of Epsom bath salt to bath water and soak for at least 20 minutes.

Yoga, tai chia good for balance and strengthening muscles. Good as injury prevention exercises, sustainable for life.

Key bone building nutrients include: calcium (dark green leafy vegetables, fish bones), phosphorus (meat, lentils, nuts), vitamin C (colourful fruit and vegetables), zinc (beans, nuts, seafood), magnesium  (dark green leafy vegetables, nuts) consider taking a bone health supplement too. Vitamin D is another key nutrient which can be synthesized in the skin from sun exposure. Regularly going outside for a few minutes in the middle of the day without sunscreen is recommended in the UK to help store vitamin D.

In between joints is a substance called synovial fluid. Good nutrition is needed to make sure the synovial fluid stays fluid and able to lubricate. Cartilage and synovial fluid contains mucopolysaccharides, which can be found in bone broths.