Taking care of joints is one of the key tasks in case of physically active people, but not only them. Protection of joints should be important to each of us, due to the fact that damaging joints may exclude us from physical activity for a very long time.
Good condition of our joints is incredibly important. Strength training, running, combat sports or soccer considerably burden our joints and, as widely known, ankles and knees are the most exposed, but also hips. Multi-joint exercises in strength sports may cause injuries. We very often experience sudden, severe pain during barbell overhead presses, squats or deadlift. This pain may, but doesn’t have to be the sign of a serious injury. Therefore, warm-up before training is so important as well as stretching after workout. Regardless of the fact what kind of activity we perform, it should be important to us, as at the same time, we are able to alleviate potential pain or prevent serious injuries.
How to improve diet to make it the first step to joint protection?
Joints are mobile connections between particular bones. They are composed of many elements, which may get pulled, strained, but also they may fall victim of painful inflammation. It is very often accompanied by exudate, swelling, the joint is hot, red and there is no comfort of movement.
Apart from the proper selection of training type, correct technique of exercises and appropriate warm-up and stretching, there are also a few other key aspects that have influence on out joints. Regeneration and relax are also vital, therefore we should find a few moments during the day to simply rest. The selection of shoes is also important, as it may decrease the probability of injury. In this case, we should take advantage of the advice in the shop with sport shoes.
Another important issue is our body mass and diet. As widely known, if we are obese or even overweight, our joints are forced to carry a lot of kilograms every day and this may lead to serious problems, e.g. with knee or hip joints. We should bear in minds that implementing properly adjusted diet may not only prevent pain and inflammation of joints, but it may also strengthen them and alleviate the symptoms that have already occurred. Moreover, it may shorted the time of regeneration and recovery.
6 products that will protect your joints
Protein constitutes invaluable support of the proper functioning of joints. It is an essential component of new tissues and muscle structures. Whole protein is a building block of articular cartilage, hence it is necessary to include in your diet the products which are rich in protein, such as:
- dairy products (quark, natural yogurts, buttermilk, kefirs, mozzarella etc.). Milk products are rich in calcium, which along with phosphorus build the structure of our bones;
- meat (e.g. pork loin, chicken or turkey breast or thigh, steak etc.). It should be borne in minds that fatty meats are rich primarily in omega-6 fatty acids and they are responsible, among others, for inflammations. Therefore, such meats should be limited.
- fish (e.g. halibut, cod, wild salmon, fresh mackerel, catfish, pollock, herring, sardines etc.). Fish are rich in, i.a. omega-3 fatty acids, about which I will mention later on. These acids alleviate and eliminate inflammations. They are also the source of the valuable vitamin E, which also demonstrates anti-inflammatory effect;
- protein supplements – we provide them at the moments of protein deficiency in food or treat as an interesting additive to desserts. However, it best to focus on complete food;
- legumes, nuts, groats, rice, pseudo-grains etc. provide vegetable protein, which also should have its place in our diet.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are one of the most effective natural ingredients with anti-inflammatory properties. They improve the ability to absorb calcium, therefore their application is recommended by doctors, especially in case of the treatment of osteoporosis.
These acids can be found among others in fish such as: salmon, mackerel, halibut, eel or herring, but also in walnuts, linseed or chia seeds. Moreover, vegetable sources of omega-3 are at the same time a great source of vitamin E, which also demonstrates anti-inflammatory effect.
- Vitamin D
Low concentration of vitamin D in the plasma may cause increased bone and joint pain and it may also weaken the strength of our muscles. Low level of vitamin D, among others, is visible in people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. The human organism may supplement vitamin D deficiency, thanks to properly frequent, but also safe sun therapy. Endogenous synthesis of vitamin D in our skin, which is caused under the influence of sun rays is the best way to provide proper dose of vitamin D.
This vitamin may be found in a few products, among others: in salmon, cod, tuna, sardines, mackerel, mushrooms, liver, cheese, egg yolks and fungi. It is worth mentioning that unfortunately vitamin D appears in food products in very small amounts, therefore it may be said that vitamin D supplementation is essential, especially in the fall-winter season. However, before we choose proper supplementation, we should test the level of vitamin D in the plasma and only then select proper dose of vitamin D.
- Antioxidants (vitamins and minerals)
Antioxidants constitute a wide group of compounds which have positive influence on our organism. They may prevent, among others, joint degeneration, but are also able to limit the production of free radicals, which in excess may cause strong inflammation.
The group of such antioxidants includes:
- vitamin C, which is essential to create collagen. Collagen, among others, is responsible for the condition of our joints and tendons. Vitamin C takes part in the synthesis of steroid hormones and carnitine, which facilitates wound healing and accelerates bone setting. Deficiency of this vitamin disturbs the process of collagen production, which directly influences joint ailments. Vitamin C can be found in: parsley, kale, red pepper, lemon, apples, oranges or grapefruits;
- zinc or iron are very important components of antioxidant enzymes, which may prevent inflammatory processes taking place in joints. Zinc can be found among others in: calf’s liver, sesame or garlic, but also in shellfish, while iron may be found in: amaranth, lentil, liver, egg yolks or buckwheat groats, millet groats, cashew nuts, poppy and linseed;
- phosphorus, magnesium and calcium – are responsible for the proper development and growth of our bones. Phosphorus deficiency may give symptoms of joint pain (it is important to maintain proper proportions of phosphorus and calcium in the organism – 1:1), we will find it in nuts, fish, meat and dairy products. Magnesium deficiency may also cause joint pain, but also muscle cramps. It may be found in: sardines, mackerel, groats, seafood, but also bananas and bittersweet chocolate. As widely known, calcium is essential for the proper functioning of our skeletal system. Its deficiencies may give symptoms of general weakness of bones and muscles. The basic products, in which we can find calcium are milk products, e.g. mozzarella, cheese, but also salmon, sardines or broccoli.
- vitamin E – has strong antioxidant properties, protecting our organism from diseases and it has anti-inflammatory effect. This vitamin may be found among others in: hazelnuts, almonds, oily fish, olive oil and cereals;
- vitamin K – is very important to our bones. Its properly high intake decidedly decreases the risk of fractures, the development of osteopenia and osteoporosis. This is due to the fact that vitamin K influences the activity of a protein, called osteocalcin, which binds calcium in our bones. Vitamin K also stimulates osteopontin – a factor which decides about bone density. When our organism lacks vitamin K, the creation of bone tissue is disturbed. This vitamin can be found in spinach, broccoli, fermented milk products, but also egg yolks, avocado or liver.
It has long been known that people often take advantage of herbalism, however, it needs to be highlighted that one should take caution. Herbs have large potential, but when used without consideration, they may do more harm than good. Moreover, when we reach for herbs, we should take into consideration a wide spectrum of effects, possible side-effects and interaction with food products and some drugs.
Herbs that demonstrate anti-inflammatory effect are:
- St John’s wort
- sand plantain
- comfrey etc.
- Dietary supplements supporting the work of joints
Deficiency of vitamins and minerals, which are essential for the proper functioning of our skeletal and muscle systems may cause considerable weakness of muscles and joints, therefore it is often the case that supplementation is indispensable.
The most recommended dietary supplements that support the work of our joints are:
- hyaluronic acid – it is one of the main ingredients that are responsible for the condition of our joints. This acid decreases friction between cartilages and additionally it protects them from various damages. It is an ingredient, which generally appears in our tissues, also in cartilaginous tissues, but also in synovial fluid, the amount of which, as widely known, is depleted with age. Therefore, when such deficiencies appear, the quality of synovial fluid is automatically worse and by the same token, the ability of our joints to absorb shocks, that our articular cartilage is subjected to. Its deficiency is also reflected in pain that we experience during walking or physical activity. You should talk about hyaluronic acid with your orthopedist;
- chondroitin – is an ingredient which fills intercellular cavities in our connective tissues. Thanks to this, our joints are efficient and more durable. It is incredibly vital to maintain good condition.
- hyalutidin is the combination of chondroitin and hyaluronic acid, which are complementary, thanks to which they more strongly restore proper activity of our joints. This preparation demonstrates incredibly high effectiveness. Its effect has been confirmed on the large number of patients, who suffered from various ailments of the joint system.
Physical activity is mainly associated with shaping and using muscles. However, under muscles, there is skeleton, which constitutes the corpus of our organism. Bones and connections between them, i.e. joints are also very important in practicing sports. What can we do is to diversify our diet in order to provide our organism with essential vitamins and minerals, primarily those which demonstrate anti-inflammatory effect, thanks to which our bone structure is more stable.
It turns out once again that diet is an indispensable element not only of shaping the silhouette, but also of our health.
Therefore, let’s take care of our diet today!