Physical pain is a powerful motivator isn’t it? From popping ibuprofen to scheduling an appointment with our healthcare provider, we’ll do almost anything to get relief.
Joint pain is one such ailment that many adults have in common. Can you relate? Did you know there are simple lifestyle steps you can take to alleviate joint pain and even prevent it from happening in the first place?
First, What Exactly is a Joint?
A joint is where two or more bones are joined together. Many joints have cartilage on the ends of the bones, which allows them to comfortably glide over one another.
Arthritis is any disorder that affects the joints and includes:
- Osteoarthritis: the most common form of arthritis where the surface cartilage in the joints breaks down, allowing the bones to rub together. This causes pain, swelling, and loss of motion in the joint.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks the tissues of the joints.
- Gout: a form of arthritis caused by a buildup of uric acid crystals in the joints, most commonly in the big toe.
6 Tips for Healthy Joints
The lifestyle recommendations for joint health mirror those of optimal health: maintain a healthy body weight, eat a balanced diet and get plenty of physical activity and rest.
- Choose inflammation-fighting foods. These are whole foods with minimal processing—vegetables, fruit, greens, omega-3 fats from nuts, seeds and fatty fish, and herbs and spices like ginger and turmeric. Check out the Fx-100 List for more information. These are recommended foods that can be added to meals to support the seven Fx Pillars.
- Hydrate with H20. Water is an important component for joint health because it makes up about 80% of your body’s cartilage (the flexible, connective tissue that cushions your joints). According to Dr. King, sports medicine physician at the Cleveland Clinic: If you don’t stay well-hydrated, your body will pull water from cartilage and other areas, which can wreak havoc on your joints. Consider trading out soda, juice, and sweet tea for good old-fashioned H20. If you get bored with plain water, opt for a naturally-flavored fruit-infused water like Hint. You could also make your own fruit-infused water. My favorite combination is strawberry, blueberry and mint! For more ideas, check out this week’s recipe for Fruit-Infused Water.
- Watch your sugar! According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, processed sugars trigger the release of inflammatory messengers called cytokines. Sugar goes by many names so look out for any word ending in “ose,” e.g. fructose or sucrose on ingredient labels.
- Get moving. Regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for healthy joints. It keeps the muscles around your joints strong and functional. This is especially important for those who already have arthritis as it can help reduce disability. Bicycling, yoga, walking, Pilates, and swimming are all gentle on the joints. Be sure to warm up and stretch before each exercise session too!
- Rest up. During sleep, growth hormones are released to repair small muscle tears that have occurred throughout the day. In a sleep-deprived state, these repairs are compromised and you may experience more inflammation and pain as a result. Need help with your sleep? Here are Eight Tips for Better Sleep, including supplement recommendations.
- Supplement smartly. Supplementation can be quite helpful on both the inflammation and wear and tear aspect of joint pain and some of my favorites include: inflammation fighting curcumin, or turmeric with black pepper, ginger, boswellia, and pomegranate, and for wear and tear, ester-C, MSM, silica, and glucosamine are great.
Food for Thought …
Proper nutrition, exercise, and sleep all work together to support a weight that is right for you. This is important because every additional ten pounds of excess weight adds 20-40 pounds of force to each knee. This puts stress on your joints, especially in your knees, hips, and feet and may aggravate existing osteoarthritis or lead to it later in life.
If you’re looking for additional support on your journey to better health, seek no further than Heinen’s Wellness Department. Our talented team of Wellness Consultants are eager to partner with you! Get started with a free Club Fx Intro or Cart Check. Interested in diving a bit deeper into optimizing your health? Club Fx members have access to additional concierge services for a fee. Personalized Nutrition Coaching allows for individualized work with Heinen’s Registered Dietitians to identify your health goals and determine your personalized Fx Script to meet those goals. To learn more and schedule an appointment, click here.