Foods that Keep Your Joints Healthy

Foods that Keep Your Joints Healthy

Cartilage damage, inflammation and even arthritis can seriously affect your training. However, these opponents of sporting performance can be controlled by a diet that targets joints with a proper supply of vitamins and nutrients. Here are five simple foods you should add to your diet to keep your joints healthy.

1 OILY FISH

Oily fish_keep your joints healthy
The acids found in oily fish have the ability to reduce inflammation.

Oily fish including salmon, trout, herring, tuna and mackerel have the omega 3 fatty acids eicosapentanoic acid (EPA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA) which have been proven to be helpful in the relief of joint pain related to arthritis. These acids have the capacity to reduce inflammation by decreasing the production of pro-inflammatory prostaglandins and increasing the production of anti-inflammatory compounds. Osteoarthritis is widespread amongst sports people and although the evidence isn’t as strong, there could be some benefit to increasing omega 3 intake.

How much? Up to four servings a week (but no more than two if you’re pregnant).

2 BUTTERNUT SQUASH

Orange vegetables such as squash are rich in the antioxidant beta-cyrptoxanthin, which is transformed into vitamin A (crucial for normal bone growth) and may help to prevent arthritis. Prolonged inflammation can lead to oxidative damage to the synovium (smooth lining of the joint), which is part of the process that results in rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory problems. Circulating antioxidants such as beta-cryptoxanthin could prevent this damage. Studies have proven that people who eat more foods rich in this are more protected against arthritis.

butternot squash_keep your joints healthy
Orange vegetables such as squash provide can help to prevent arthritis.

How much? Include in your five-a-day when in season.

3 KALE

It’s no secret that green vegetables are beneficial for our health and leafy varieties such as kale are great sources of calcium, vitamin C and selenium. Cartilage requires sufficient collagen production that relies on vitamin C and also copper which is present in kale. Selenium improves bone and joint health as its antioxidant properties help to protect joints against damage; additionally, it plays a role in the reproduction of cells. Kale is also an excellent source of manganese that activates the enzymes needed for tissue growth and is fairly high in calcium.

How much? Include in your five-a-day when in season.

4 ALMONDS

When it comes to the role of diet in keeping the joints healthy, it’s mostly about reducing inflammation and protecting against oxidative damage as well as ensuring your bones are healthy. In addition to being a great source of calcium, almonds are also an excellent source of the anti-oxidant vitamin E (one of the ‘ACES’ alongside vitamin A, C and selenium). This vitamin acts is the first to defend from free-radicals to help protect the outer membrane of the joints. Only a small handful of nuts (about six) provides 40% of the RDA. Eat them as a snack or crush them on yogurt.

almonds_keep your joints healthy
Almonds are an excellent source of the anti-oxidant vitamin E and calcium.

How much? Small serving every day (15g, about six nuts)

5 LOW-FAT DAIRY FOODS

Healthy bones are crucial for healthy joints and enough calcium will help to protect against bone loss as you age. Consuming two to three servings of low-fat dairy every day is advisable to make sure you get your 800mg of calcium. If you don’t eat dairy, you can find this in dark green vegetables, almonds, tofu and fortified soya or rice milk. Vitamin D is also needed for the absorption of calcium but is tricky to get it from diet alone so make sure you get out regularly in the summer and you may also want to think about a supplement when the clocks go back.

How much? 2-3 servings a day.

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Written by Camille Bennett

Camille Bennett is our nutrition expert interested in fitness diet and doesn’t run out of delicious ideas for healthy and nutritional meals.

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