We REALLY take for granted just how important our joints are. The fact of the matter is, unless something is wrong with them, how often do you stop to think about them? Healthy joints are as essential as the air we breathe, but keeping them functioning in top condition takes a bit of extra effort.
Staying active is one of the best ways, but what about the nutritional aspect of joint maintenance? Turns out, joints are quite different from bone and require their own special types of nutritional intervention to keep them strong and healthy.
In this blog, we're going to discuss the best supplements and foods for maintaining healthy joints, so hopefully, by the end of this post, you will have a better understanding of what works and why it is important to make sure your joints stay healthy.
Why Is Joint Health Important?
Unless you enjoy the excruciating pain that is associated with joint trouble or plan on living as an immobile hermit for the rest of your life, we would like to believe that you have big plans for your future.
With that in mind, good joint health will help you get there. It can help with:
- Improved mobility: Maintaining healthy joints allows for an improved range of motion and flexibility, making it easier to perform daily tasks and engage in physical activities. This can also lead to a decrease in the risk of falls and accidents.
- Reduced pain and inflammation: Joints that are well-maintained are less likely to experience inflammation and pain. This can improve the overall quality of life and reduce the need for pain medication.
- Increased strength and endurance: Healthy joints can support the body’s weight and movements, allowing for increased strength and endurance. This can lead to improved athletic performance and the ability to perform daily tasks with greater ease. Joint discomfort lends to impairment of physical function and subsequent loss of strength and muscle mass.
- Reduced risk of chronic diseases: Maintaining joint health can also reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as osteoarthritis. These conditions can lead to a significant decline in overall health and quality of life.
- Better overall health: Maintaining healthy joints can contribute to an improvement in overall health and well-being. When the body is able to move and function properly, it has a positive impact on mental health, energy levels, and overall sense of self. Additionally, taking care of your joints can help to prevent the need for joint replacement surgeries, which are traumatic and require prolonged recuperation times.
Best Supplements For Joint Health
Collagen is quite the hype these days, and with good reason. It's one of the most important supplements you can take if you want to get a grip on your joint health.
As we age, our bodies produce less and less collagen, which is why supplementing with it can help us maintain healthy joints and cartilage as well as mobility - something that we all need in our everyday lives!
Taking a collagen supplement such as Radiance regularly will rebuild the tissue in our joints, provide smoothness to any joint surfaces, support pain relief when suffering from certain conditions (like osteoarthritis), and also help reduce risk factors for the development of such conditions.
So don't just take it because it's the trendy thing to do; knowing why it works is just as important.
Glucosamine and Chondroitin
Although two different compounds, glucosamine and chondroitin are a formidable combination when it comes to joint health. Glucosamine helps strengthen the cartilage in your joints, while chondroitin works like liquid tape by creating a cushiony barrier between your bones so they don't grind against each other.
Together, this combo plays an essential role in maintaining healthy joints and daily functioning. But remember, if you have shellfish allergies you should not take these supplements because they contain amino acids derived from shellfish. Necessary caveat aside, supplementing with glucosamine and chondroitin is an easy way to give your joints the extra care they need.
Turmeric, oh turmeric, where do we begin? This golden spice is not just a tasty addition to your curry dishes, but it's also a powerhouse supplement for joint health.
But what makes it so good?
First off, turmeric's active constituent is a compound that goes by the name curcumin, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory compound.
Inflammation is one of the main culprits when it comes to joint pain and discomfort. By taking turmeric, you're giving your joints a break from all the inflammatory processes happening in your body.
But wait, there's more! Turmeric also has antioxidant properties, which means it helps to protect your joints from free radical damage too. Free radicals are those highly reactive little molecules that can cause damage to cells, leading to joint pain and stiffness.
But the benefits of turmeric still don't stop there. This spice has also been shown to improve mobility and flexibility in people with osteoarthritis. So, not only will it help to ease your joint pain, but it'll also help you move around without impairment.
Did you know that omega-3 fatty acids could be the secret weapon in the battle for joint health? It's like the superhero of supplements, coming to the rescue of your joints when they need it most.
But why you may ask, is omega-3 so darn important for joint health? Well, allow me to enlighten you.
First of all, omega-3s are anti-inflammatory, which means they help reduce inflammation in the body. And what do we know about inflammation? It's the enemy of joint health. It's like the kryptonite to Superman, except omega-3s are the Superman to inflammation.
But omega-3s don't just stop at reducing inflammation. They also play a role in the production of collagen and cartilage, which are essential for the long-term health of your joints. Think of collagen and cartilage as the scaffolding that holds your joints together, without them, you'd be a wobbly mess.
Surprisingly, very few people know the importance of MSM, even though it has several important functions.
First of all, MSM is a naturally occurring form of sulfur, which is an essential mineral that plays a critical role in maintaining healthy joints. Sulfur is a major component of cartilage, the tissue that cushions and protects our joints, so it makes sense that making sure we have enough of it in our bodies is crucial for joint health.
But here's the thing - our bodies don't naturally produce sulfur, so we have to get it from our diets or via supplementation.
MSM is a highly bioavailable form of sulfur, which means it's easily absorbed and utilized by our bodies. When we take MSM, it helps to replenish the sulfur stored in our joints, which in turn supports the health and flexibility of our cartilage.
Vegans and vegetarians might benefit from MSM supplementation more than anyone else, as sulfur is found primarily in animal proteins.
But owing to the bioavailability, it stands to reason that it could be extremely beneficial to anyone using it.
Hyaluronic acid sometimes referred to as just 'HA', is another important molecule that wears several caps when it comes to joint health.
First of all, let's talk about what it is. Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance in the body that acts as a lubricant and shock absorber for our joints.
As we age, our bodies produce less and less of it, which can lead to joint pain and stiffness. But fear not, the good news is that we can supplement with hyaluronic acid to give our joints the boost they need.
Better lubricated joints mean less pain and stiffness and can even help to improve our range of motion. But that's not all, as hyaluronic acid also acts as a shock absorber, helping to protect our joints from the wear and tear of everyday activities, especially when high-impact activity is performed.
So, in short, hyaluronic acid is like the WD-40 for our joints!
Boswellia, also known as the "joint ninja", is a plant that has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine to help promote joint health. Sometimes referred to as Indian Frankincense, this powerful herb is loaded with compounds called boswellic acids, which have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce joint pain and stiffness.
One of the ways Boswellia promotes joint health is by blocking the production of inflammatory molecules called leukotrienes.
These molecules are known to contribute to joint pain and inflammation, so by blocking their production, Boswellia can help reduce joint pain and inflammation.
In addition to its anti-inflammatory properties, Boswellia is also a natural painkiller. It works by decreasing the production of prostaglandins which are responsible for pain and inflammation. This can help to alleviate joint pain and stiffness, making it easier to move around and enjoy life.
Boswellia also helps to protect the cartilage in the joints, which is the soft tissue that cushions the bones and allows them to move smoothly. As we age, our cartilage can start to break down, leading to joint pain and stiffness. But Boswellia has been found to help slow down this process, protecting the cartilage and keeping the joints healthy, like a bodyguard.
Lastly, Boswellia has been found to improve blood flow to the joints, which can help to bring oxygen and nutrients to the area. This can speed up the healing process and reduce inflammation in the joints.
Last but not least, we have vitamin C. Vitamin C is an essential nutrient for joint health. It helps your body produce important compounds like collagen, which are the building blocks of healthy joints and cartilage.
Vitamin C is also an antioxidant (like turmeric) which means it helps protect your joints from damage caused by free radicals. Remember those pesky little molecules I mentioned earlier? Yeah, they're no match for your daily vitamin C.
So if you want to keep your joints healthy and happy for years to come, make sure you get enough vitamin C - either through foods like citrus fruits or dark leafy greens, or supplementation with a superfood powder like Field Of Greens.
Just remember- Vitamin C needs to be consumed on a daily basis since the body is incapable of storing it.
Best Joint-Friendly Foods
- Fish: Fish, particularly salmon and tuna, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which we mentioned can help reduce inflammation in the joints. The omega-3 fatty acids present in fish oil help to decrease the production of inflammatory molecules called prostaglandins, thus reducing joint pain and stiffness.
- Leafy Greens: Leafy greens, such as spinach and kale, are packed with vitamins and minerals that can help keep your joints healthy. These foods are also rich in antioxidants, such as vitamins C, E, and K, which can help protect your joints from free radical damage. The antioxidants present in leafy greens also help to decrease the production of inflammatory molecules and thus reduce joint pain and stiffness.
- Berries: Berries, such as blueberries and raspberries, are also great for joint health. They contain powerful antioxidants, such as anthocyanins, which help to reduce inflammation and protect the joints from damage. Berries are also rich in vitamin C and other nutrients that can help support collagen synthesis.
- Nuts and Seeds: Nuts and seeds, such as almonds and flaxseed, are also great for joint health. They're rich in plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and other fats that benefit your joints. Not to mention, nuts and seeds are also a great source of magnesium, which helps to keep your joints flexible, and protein for muscle health.
- Eggs: Eggs are a great source of protein, which is essential for maintaining joint health. They're also rich in vitamins and minerals such as vitamin D and calcium, which are important for bone health. Vitamin D helps promote the absorption of calcium and thus helps to strengthen the bones and joints.
- Olive Oil: Olive oil is a great source of healthy fats, which can help reduce inflammation in the joints. It's also a great source of antioxidants, such as polyphenols, which can help protect your joints from damage. This natural anti-inflammatory oil won't just protect your joints though, as it has benefits for your entire body too.
- Bone Broth: Bone broth is a great source of collagen, which is essential for maintaining joint health. In fact, besides collagen supplements, bone broth is the best way to get more of this vital joint-supporting nutrient. The collagen in bone broth helps to maintain joint flexibility and reduce inflammation, while also providing essential amino acids that are necessary for healthy muscle and tissue development.
- Quinoa: Quinoa is a great source of protein, which is essential for maintaining joint health. It's also rich in vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, which is important for bone health. Magnesium helps in the absorption of calcium and thus helps to strengthen the bones and joints.
- Avocados: Avocados are a good source of healthy monounsaturated fats, which can help reduce inflammation in the joints. They're also rich in antioxidants, such as the rare vitamin E, which helps to protect the joints from oxidative damage. Avocados are also a great source of vitamin B6, which helps to maintain healthy joints and bones as well.
Even though wear and tear on your joints is a natural outcome as a result of aging, it doesn't mean that you need to subject yourself to pain and discomfort. With regular exercise, and preventative maintenance, the real chance of you having to suffer is much lower than you would be led to believe.