We know you love your busy and active lifestyle and want to keep it that way for as long as possible. To do so, it's important to maintain healthy, flexible joints that will keep you feeling young and agile. Physical activity is most often recommended for maintaining joint health, but diet also affects your joints, much more than you'd expect it to.
To understand diet's impact on joints, it's important to understand how they function and what causes painful joints:
Our bodies have several types of joints, but the ones that we most associate with voluntary movement are called freely movable joints, such as those found in the knees, hips, elbows, and shoulders. When we complain of achy joints, these are the ones we are usually referring to. These joints contain
cartilage, which keep the bones from rubbing together, and synovial fluid, which lubricates joints for smooth movement, much like oil on a creaking door hinge.
As we get older, the cartilage deteriorates, depriving our bodies of their natural shock absorber. Bones scrape against one another, causing inflammation, discomfort and pain. While ageing is the most common cause of osteoarthritis (as this condition is called), obesity and genetics are also common contributors. Also, those who are physically active or have physically demanding occupations will experience more rapid cartilage deterioration.
To ensure joints are healthy, it helps to lose weight and stay active, especially with low-impact exercises. Strong muscles are also important to joint health, and muscles need protein. How much protein you'll need depends on your age, sex and activity level, but you'll find it in nuts, soy products, beans, seafood and lean meats.
Finally, gelatine is highly recommended for maintaining cartilage, and it makes for a light, delicious dessert too.
Did you know ?
There is a truth in the claim by some people who say they can feel it's going to rain 'in their joints'. Our joints contain baro-receptors that react to changes in barometric pressure. So when atmospheric changes are coming from an approaching thunderstorm, the baro-receptors react to the drop in barometric pressure, causing discomfort in the joints.