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10 ways to look after your joints and bones

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10 ways to look after your joints and bones

Our joints and bones need the right source of vitamins, minerals and foods in order to function properly.

So if you want to start helping your joints and bones, you can start with the foods we consume daily, your body will start to feel the benefits of any new changes you incorporate. Chiropractor Dr.Frederik Fuchs of SpineCentral in London gives his advice on what to eat and what you should start doing.

Eat what your joints are made of - collagen

This particular type of food has been mainly ignored and almost forgotten. However, collagen is one of the most important types of food that help to improve and maintain healthy joint function. All our ligaments, tendon and joints are primarily made up of collagen.  Good sources of collagen 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. As a consequence 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 (Holland & Barrett, £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!!

Do you suffer from scurvy?

In the past British sailors were knows as limeys because it was part of the on board diet to regularly eat limes in order to provides ample amount of vitamin C. When humans suffer from a lack of 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 be checked out by your GP. A common cause of bleeding gums when you brush your teeth might be due to a lack of vitamin C. 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.

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. Considering that there is 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.

Can we lose calcium if we drink coffee?

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).

Divorce your sofa and get active

Most people think of bones as these rigid almost stone like things in your body. What people don’t realise is that 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 doing 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.

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.

Stock up on Vitamin D

A low amount of 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.

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.

Take some omega 3’s

Studies have found that omega 3’s health benefits can help conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis, and others, omega 3 fatty acids strengthen bones and protect against osteoporosis.  The health benefits in relation to joints are that the fatty acids 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. Good for preventing inflamed joints, which can also be a result of ageing. 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.

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 diary are responsible for causing acidity in the body. In order to alkalise the body, it is recommended we that plenty of green leafy vegetables are consumed, and starting the day with hot water and lemon. Raw apple cider vinegar can also naturally alkalise the body just by drinking two tablespoons.

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 Holland & Barrett, priced at £24.99.

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.

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