Rafael Nadal holds ankle in pain (Getty)Rafael Nadal holds ankle in pain (Getty) © Copyright

10 ways to keep your bones and joints healthy

Your joints and bones can take a real pounding in most sports, but fear not! Chiropractor Dr.Frederik Fuchs of SpineCentral in London tells us what to eat and what you should start doing to keep your joints and bones in tip-top condition.

1 – Your joints are made of collagen, so eat some

This food has been mainly ignored and almost forgotten. However, collagen is one of the most important types of food that helps to improve and maintain healthy joint function. All our ligaments, tendon and joints are primarily made up of collagen. Good sources include animal skin, joints, and organs and historically used to be part of most people diets (Bone broth). Nowadays, people either do not know how to prepare these dishes or more commonly simply dislike them, so most people are lacking healthy amounts of good quality collagen. 

A great way to make sure you are not missing out is to use supplements including glucosamine, chondroitin and hyaluronic acid such as LQ Joint Care (Boots.com, £24.99). In addition to maintaining healthy joints, collagen supplements may help with acne and other skin problems. Essentially your skin, hair and joints are made of very similar raw material and all require collagen to remain healthy and shiny. Of course the other option is to include more bone broth and organ dishes in your diet!!

2 – Watch out for scurvy

British sailors were knows as limeys because it was part of the on-board diet to regularly eat limes to provide ample vitamin C. When humans lack vitamin C our soft tissues (e.g. skin, tendons, and ligaments) become weak. An early symptom of that is of gum bleeding – bleeding gums should never be taking lightly and should be checked out by your GP. Furthermore, vitamin C lowers inflammation and improves our immune system. So it is always good to make sure you have enough of it.  Sources of a high amount of vitamin C include bell peppers, dark leafy greens, kiwifruit, broccoli, berries, citrus fruits, tomatoes, peas, and papayas.

3 – Get plenty of calcium... by eating grass

What is the first thing that comes to mind when we hear that? That’s right; we must drink plenty of milk. However, research has shown that the best source of calcium is actually vegetables and not milk. With a growing number of people that are lactose intolerant, which increases inflammation in our gut and joints, the best way to get your daily intake of calcium is to eat green leafy vegetables. An easy and quick way is to juice or blend them into a nice juice or smoothie and have it at the beginning of the day. It is important that the majority of your juice or smoothie is in fact green leafy vegetables and not just sweet berries and fruits because those have very little calcium.

4 – Does coffee reduce our calcium level?

Each cup of coffee contains on average 60-120 mg of caffeine. Three hundred milligrams a day is the recommended intake of caffeine, roughly equivalent to 3-4 cups of soluble coffee.

Studies show that a cup of coffee causes a calcium loss of 2-4 mg, a negligible figure when compared to the amount of calcium in the diet (for example: 1 cup of milk has 300 mg, a 30 g slice of cheese has about 150-200 mg).

5 – Get active

Most people think of bones as rigid almost stone like things in your body, but bones continuously grow and our lifestyle has a massive impact on that. In order for a bone to become stronger it needs to be stimulated through physical stress. That is why weight training and running is so important. Arthritis Research UK suggests that it is important to exercise in order to look after your joints, as it helps to keep the muscles strong and your joints moving. You can exercise without putting a strain on your joints. The muscles around your joints become stronger as a result of exercising in order to support them. Adults aged between 19 and 64 are recommended to do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity in bouts of 10 minutes or more each week. Activities could include cycling or brisk walking. Yoga and tai chi are good for balance and coordination which can ease stiffness associated with painful joints and unsteadiness.

6 – See a chiropractor

The number one reason why people don’t see a chiropractor is because they don’t know why. Joints, like our body, are made for movement, but due to excess stress e.g. sitting, meeting deadlines and other injuries our joints can become locked up. Initially our body can compensate for that but as certain joints stop moving in normal way our joints starts to degenerate and may cause arthritis in your spine and other joints. The job of the chiropractor is to make sure that especially the joints in your back are in proper alignment and move in normal way.

7 – Stock up on Vitamin D

Low vitamin D in our diets causes muscle weakness leading to falls and fractures as we age. The Department of Health recommends people should also take a supplement of (0.01mg) of vitamin D if over 65 years old and are not exposed to a lot of sunlight. Most people should be able to get the required amount of vitamin D through 15 minutes of sunlight and a balanced diet. Vitamin D is also found in a number of good food sources including oily fish such as salmon, sardines and mackerel

Vitamin D has several important functions such as helping to regulate calcium and phosphate in the body. In order to keep bones and teeth healthy these nutrients are essential. Lack of vitamin D can cause bone deformities such as bone tenderness a condition called osteomalcis. In adults vitamin D deficiency causing bone pain and weakening of the bones known as osteoporosis.

8 – Top up with Vitamin K

The NHS suggests there is evidence that vitamin K is necessary for bone health. Bones have proteins in them that are dependent on vitamin K. Vitamin K can be found in green leafy vegetables including spinach and broccoli, vegetable oils and cereal grains including small amounts found in meat and dairy products. By eating a varied and balanced diet you should be able to get an adequate amount of vitamin D.

9 – Take some omega 3’s

Studies have found that omega 3’s health benefits can help conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis, and others. The fatty acids strengthen bones and protect against osteoporosis and can help to reduce inflammation in the joints. Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines are a very nutritious source of omega 3’s. The build-up of free radicals can contribute to the ageing process and age-related diseases such as osteoarthritis. It is suggested that we aim to eat two to three portions a week. Other forms of omega 3’s are found in fortified eggs and nuts such as linseeds, flaxseeds, and walnuts. The intake of these fats can affect bone formation and the rate at which bone is broken down.

10 – Cut down on acidic foods

Your Healthy Living suggests that if your diet is too acidic the body can use the alkalising minerals in the bones and teeth to neutralise the body’s acidity, which weakens the bones. The overconsumption of red meat, processed food, sugar and dairy are responsible for causing acidity in the body. In order to alkalise the body, it is recommended that we eat plenty of green leafy vegetables, and start the day with hot water and lemon. Raw apple cider vinegar can also naturally alkalise the body just by drinking two tablespoons.

Dr Frederik Fuchs is a Doctor of Chiropractic that specialises in posture correction and family care. He works at the private chiropractic clinic SpineCentral in Hampton, London. 

Supplement to take LQ Joint Care - A scientifically formulated liquid joint care supplement to promote healthy joints, cartilage and bones. Box of 10 available from Boots.com priced at £24.99. 

 

 

 

 

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