Healthspan November 01, 2017

When it comes to joint health there are all sorts of natural remedies that will help to keep you supple this winter. Here are our top three...

Get moving

A lot of people think moving is the worst thing to do when they experience joint pain, when actually our bodies are designed to move and staying active is one of the best ways to prolong good joint health. Without exercise our muscles become weaker and it’s the same for our joint cartilage. Exercising makes the cartilage surrounding your joints stronger giving them more cushioning in the long term.

1. Walking
We’ve chosen walking because it’s an exercise that’s accessible for everyone and requires nothing but a comfortable pair of shoes, but any exercise is good for joint health. That could mean a yoga class, running or even swimming – which if you are really suffering is great for putting no pressure whatsoever on joints that are already painful.

2. Targeted exercise
Arthritis UK is a great resource for finding exercises that will benefit a specific joint on your body. If it’s your knees that are in pain, or your neck or feet or your shoulders, they have detailed fact sheets that demonstrate exercises tailored to a specific point of pain on your body.

Diet

You might not realise it but your diet is a powerful tool in keeping your body in tip-tip condition. This is just as much the case for your joints and there are all sorts of changes you can make to your diet that will help your joints stay healthy and flexible.

1. Nutrition
Oily fish, such as herring, mackerel and sardines, all contain essential omega 3 fatty acids to fight inflammation, joint pain and stiffness. Flaxseeds and oil, rapeseed oil, chia seeds and walnuts can all help top up those omega 3 stores, too. Berries are full of antioxidants that may help reduce joint inflammation and pain. Pecans, walnuts and hazelnuts are high in antioxidants and copper which help to support connective tissue.

2. Weight - loss
Keep an eye on you weight as – if you’re overweight – you might be putting unnecessary stress on your joints. Knowing the weight you should be according to your BMI is good place to start and will give you an indication as to whether it might be an idea to drop a couple of pounds.

Supplements

There are many supplements available to help aid you in supporting your joint health. We all want to keep moving and doing the activities we love for as long as possible and joint health supplements such as glucosamine and turmeric will help you continue your journey.

1. Glucosamine
Glucosamine and chondroitin are naturally found in cartilage; however, the body produces less as we age. Supplements can be a good source of these as dietary sources can be hard to find. A supplement containing glucosamine and chondroitin will help to make up for this shortfall and keep your joints happy.

2. Turmeric
Dr Sarah Brewer says: "Turmeric is an extremely powerful antioxidant. It demonstrates anti-inflammatory properties in conditions such as arthritis, muscle sprains and other injuries by supporting cartilage."

Turmeric also contains essential vitamins and minerals, especially manganese and iron. These are vital for healthy bones, oxygen transport, thyroid function and metabolism.

A 2016 study by King George’s Medical University in Lucknow, India, found patients with osteoarthritis of the knee who took turmeric extract compared to a placebo, had significant improvement. Turmeric could suppress inflammation and show a clinical improvement of the condition.

Nothing beats a healthy, balanced diet to provide all the nutrients we need. But when this isn’t possible supplements can help. This article isn’t intended to replace medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional before trying supplements or herbal medicines.

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