We’ve heard that a change in diet may help cholesterol levels or help to bring down blood pressure, but what effect can diet have on our joints? Although orthopedics tends to be a field of fixing things that are already broken, there are some things you can start changing about your diet that may go a long way in preventing some common problems.
Most injuries that develop or linger in the joints can be summed up in one word: inflammation. Although inflammation is a natural part of the healing process and is the body’s way of healing itself initially, it can become self-propagating and spread, halting progress and possibly leading to a condition known as chronic inflammation. Here are a few basic dietary tips to keep in mind if you want to prevent inflammation in the body. Although nutrition alone probably won’t keep you away from the doctor, it can help fortify your body’s defenses along with good lifestyle choices to keep you healthier longer and feeling better.
Eat your Omega 3’s
Omega 3 fatty acids aid your body’s natural defence against inflammation and has been linked to mental and cardiovascular health as well as joint health.
Remember your Fiber
Fiber in the diet controls blood sugar levels which, in turn, helps control inflammation. Eat whole grains that have at least 3g of fiber per serving.
Eat all the colors
One very helpful guideline for better eating in general is to ‘eat the rainbow,’ which means trying to incorporate every different color of food in your diet on a regular basis. Often bright colors in foods correlate directly to their antioxidant power. Antioxidants are compounds that neutralize free-radicals, which are rouge electrons that wreak havoc on the body, accelerating aging and disrupting healthy cells. The other benefit of eating all the colors is that most necessarily vitamins for joint health are already in these foods, such as vitamin C, E, D and calcium for strong bones.
Drink more water
Never underestimate the power of hydration! Our bodies are made of mostly water and it functions best when it has an adequate amount. Water is good for every part of the body but specifically in joint health, since it lubricates the joints, helping them to move freer.
Keep weight down
An ounce of prevention may be worth a pound of cure, but not if those extra pounds are on you! Extra weight will have a negative effect on your joints. It’s simple physics: extra weight creates more stress on the parts of your body that bear the load such as your knees, hips and ankles, wearing them down quicker and creating more inflammation.
Our diets play a huge role in every part of our health beyond just weight loss, blood pressure and cholesterol. Joints need to be nourished just like every other part of the body. By feeding your body the right foods, you’ll be giving yourself the first defense against joint problems: prevention.