Can food really prevent joint pain and aches? It’s time to find out!
Our joints quite literally bear the pressures of our stressors, since they undergo wear and tear and systemic inflammation. Therefore, it becomes crucial to maintain the health of our joints, in order to live a physically active life and prevent falls and disability. The two most common problems that happen with joints are — either they begin to degenerate or get inflamed. Joint pain is experienced in both these situations.
A wholesome diet plays an important role in preventing or reversing the problem of joint disorders. It includes nutrient-rich foods that support joint health through improvement in cartilage, ligament, tendons, and other components of joint health.
A balanced diet not only strengthens your bones but also helps reduce inflammation that causes joint aches.
LET’S FIRST UNDERSTAND THE NUTRIENTS THAT ARE ESSENTIAL FOR BUILDING AND MAINTAINING STRONG JOINT HEALTH
Calcium: It’s a prime mineral for maintaining the good health of bones and ligaments. Besides, it also regulates blood flow and muscle reflexes. When calcium needs are not fulfilled through food, the body begins to tap into the skeletal reserves. This leads to weak bones and can even result in osteoporosis. Calcium can be provided through dairy and non-dairy sources such as milk and milk products like cheese or yogurt; and foods like leafy greens such as sesame seeds, spinach, cooked soybeans, and dried figs.
Vitamin D: Vitamin D is required by the body to absorb calcium from food. Even though sunlight is the main vitamin source, we can get the nutrients from foods like egg yolks, sun-dried mushrooms, fatty fish. However, one can also take calcium and vitamin D combo supplements that are easily available at pharmacies.
Good fat: One mistake that the majority of people do is to avoid fat. Remember, vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. No amount of supplementation will help if the environment for nutrient absorption is not conducive. Including filtered oils, ghee, nuts, seeds, coconut, avocado is important.
TAKE CARE OF INFLAMMATION
Inflammation is a leading cause of joint pain. It is essential to consistently include anti-inflammatory foods in your diet that can help combat it.
A few of these are outlined below:
Garlic: Garlic is enriched with diallyl disulfide, an anti-inflammatory compound that restricts the consequences of inflammation-boosting cytokines. Therefore, garlic can help fight inflammation. Studies have suggested it may even prevent cartilage damage, resulting from arthritis.
Onions: Like garlic, onions and leeks too, exhibit anti-inflammatory properties and should be consumed raw as part of meals on a regular basis.
Turmeric: Our very own haldi is the best-known anti-inflammatory food. Refrain from having haldi shots; instead, use it in the traditional ways in your food while cooking and enjoy it as a potent and delicious heritage recipe – haldi doodh (turmeric milk), a drink that has caught the fancy of elite cafes in the West.
Vitamin C: It aids in healthy joints and avoids inflammatory conditions like arthritis. You can get vitamin C in foods like oranges, limes, red bell peppers, mangoes, and guavas.
Polyphenols: These are antioxidants that lessen joint inflammation and delay cartilage breakdown. They also increase your bone strength. Teas, especially green, oolong, or black tea, are good sources.
Omega-3 fatty acids: They help in reducing inflammation and stiffness of the bones and ligaments. Fatty fish such as salmon and tuna are the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids. One can also find it in supplement form by way of fatty fish oil in soft gels. Other sources are flax seeds, chia seeds, and walnuts.
Copper: Copper is a minuscule mineral in the human body that strengthens the muscles, cartilage, and tendons around joints. Starting your day with a glass of water stored overnight in a copper vessel is a great way to introduce this mineral to your diet.
(This story is written by Ms Vijayalakshmi K is the Head of Student Wellness and Counselling (Disha), The Narayana Group. For more health-related stories visit, HealthShots.com)