Have you ever danced, had the time of your life and ended up with aching knees? Do you feel heaviness or soreness in your joints after a brisk walk or jog? Like most people, we do not give our knees a second thought until they start giving up on us. Knee ailments can be very painful and belittling. Try dancing or running with bad knees! And it is not just our knees that get affected. With advancing age, most of our joints start creaking after a lifetime of use and abuse.
Your joints deserve your attention and some tender loving care before they start giving up on you. Prevention is the best medicine for your joints. If you take good care of them, they will take care of you in your later years. Along with plenty of exercises, your joints also need the right nutrition and care.
Understanding the Joints in Our Body
A joint is made up of cartilage, synovium and synovial fluid which act as a cushion between two bones so that they do not rub on each other. They also enable the joint to function smoothly. As an inevitable part of the ageing process, the cartilage wears over time. But, healthy joints function efficiently for a longer time.
An average human body has around 300 joints! Some of the better-known ones are knees, elbows, ankles and wrists. Though we use all our joints in the daily course of life, our knee joints bear the most brunt. We use them while walking, crouching, climbing, sitting and even when we are standing still. They, very literally, help us stand. Which means that they have to hold up our entire weight. Any injury to the knee, internal or external, can be extremely painful and could be a hindrance for a normal life.
So, how can you take better care of your joints in general and knees in particular?
Simple Care for Your Joints
Here are 3 simple things you should do to keep your joints healthy.
- Start doing range-of-motion exercises to preserve your current range of motion
- Maintain healthy body weight with a good posture to help reduce pressure on your joints.
- Drink at least 7 – 8 glasses of water to keep your joints hydrated.
- Eat a calcium and nutrient-rich diet every day, such as whole pulses, soybeans, milk and milk products like paneer, curd, and cheese.
Along with the right diet and plenty of exercises, you must supplement your body to give your joints a better chance and fortification.
Essential Nutrients to Supplement Your Joint Health
Well-spoken and well-established nutrients Vitamin D, calcium and magnesium are essential for better bone health. Natural sources of these nutrients include eggs, milk and milk products, whole grains, green leafy vegetables and sunlight for Vitamin D. Did you know that calcium, to work efficiently in the formation of bones, requires magnesium and vitamin D? When consumed in enough amount, they help in better calcium absorption. So, try including these important nutrients in your diet for better joint health.
Apart from these, we have hidden nutrients in our food that are beneficial for our joints. Among these, today we will discuss three nutrients that are highly researched, but least spoken about. They also play a vital role in your joints’ health:
This supplement has the ability to nourish damaged joint cartilage. Research suggests that glucosamine sulfate relieves joint pain, improves mobility and slows down osteoarthritis-related damage to the joints. Read the label to understand the exact source of glucosamine as studies have shown a more beneficial impact of glucosamine sulfate on joints as compared to the other sources.
Studies have shown that chondroitin sulfate has the ability to suppress inflammatory pathways in the body. It is also known to ward off or slow down the spread of joint damage. Supplementing with 1500mg of glucosamine and 1200mg of chondroitin has shown effective clinical benefits for joint health. Only by taking supplements with the clinically proven dosages can you be sure of the benefits of the supplement as seen in research studies.
- Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM)
MSM is an organic sulfur-containing compound that lowers inflammation in the body. This, in turn, decreases joint inflammation and improves flexibility, allowing them to work efficiently.
These supplements, coupled with a healthy lifestyle, will ensure healthy joints. All you need to do is consult your nutrition expert and make sure you pick out the supplements that suit you the best.
Some Frequently Asked Questions
- What are different nutrients supporting joint health?
Macronutrients like Calcium and Vitamin D3, micronutrient Magnesium are important for overall bone and joint health, as they work on bone density and strengthening. There are specific nutrients like glucosamine, MSM and Chondroitin which are required for cushioning of the joints and thus improve joint mobility. Omega-3 fatty acids are also required to prevent inflammation of the joints.
- Why is D3 necessary for joint health?
Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is a natural form of vitamin D that is synthesized in the skin as a response to exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun. This fat-soluble vitamin has properties of both a vitamin and hormone and is required in calcium absorption and utilization. Studies have linked low Vitamin D levels with increased pain in hip and knee joints.
- How does one increase bone density, joint strength, and stability?
It is important to store essential nutrients during your teen years, as that is the time, you form more bone cells as compared to losing them. In the later years, your bones will begin depleting slowly as a part of the natural aging process.
- Why does joint pain happen? What are the precautions one can take?
Joints are the connections between our bones which provide support and help us move. Joint pain can occur due to various reasons; ranging from moderate to severe. Among these, knee-joint pain is the most common. As we get older, calcium deposition in our bones reduces and the pain becomes increasingly common. You can counter the effects with three simple tips:
- Eat a calcium-rich, healthy diet.
- Exercise your joints regularly.
- Choose the right supplements to fortify your bones.