A joint is the part of the body where two or more bones meet to allow movement. Joints are made up of four primary pieces: muscle + cartilage + ligament + tendons.
How does WATER affect your joints?
Drinking water before movement can lubricate joints, which reduces the risk of joint breakdown and can improve physical performance (jump, speed, etc.).
How does FOOD affect your joints?
Many joint diseases, like osteoporosis and arthritis, are the result of inflammation and swelling in the area pictured above. Anti-inflammatory foods, like those included in the Mediterranean food group, are incredibly effective at soothing swollen areas due to their nutrient-density. The top 5 foods to highlight are:
- FISH 🐟: Omega-3 fatty acid content in fish is key in organ and brain health, and also carries anti-inflammatory properties. Researchers have shown that taking fish oil supplements helps reduce joint swelling and pain, duration of morning stiffness, and disease activity among people who have rheumatoid arthritis (source). EX: salmon, tuna, sardines, herring, anchovies, scallops
- NUTS & SEEDS 🥜: Like fish, nuts & seeds are an incredible source of healthy fat. Fats contribute to feelings of “fullness after eating” and transport hormones throughout the body! Fat is the dominant energy source when performing low aerobic power outputs (walking, light cycling, etc.). EX: pumpkin seeds, walnuts, almonds
- FRUITS & VEGGIES 🥝: These are the ninjas of your immune system, which is relentlessly seeking out and destroying cells in your body that don't belong there (bacteria, viruses, etc.). They carry the power to fight off the pesky invaders that cause swelling in joints. EX: kale, spinach, berries, carrots
- OLIVE OIL 🛢️: Olive oil, like fish & nuts, is loaded with those heart-healthy fats + oleocanthal. Oleocanthal exhibits "pharmacological action similar to ibuprofen"... which is wild! Remember that inflammation is simply a phase of the body's natural immune response...so elements like oleocanthal can help to reduce overreactive forms of inflammation by reducing pain sensitivity (source) EX: salad dressings, dipping sauce for whole grain breads
- BEANS 🥫: A dense and inexpensive source of protein (~15 grams per cup), beans are key in muscle health and joint elasticity. EX: red beans, red kidney beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans
I've put together a "Salmon Med Bowl with Beans" meal idea. It incorporates ALL the goodies: veggies, fish, fats, beans - the works. It's not only loaded with secret weapon, anti-inflammatory ingredients, but also tastes like heaven.
Exercise and Joint Longevity
Some low-impact workout ideas include swimming, cycling, and / or the elliptical machine. As noted above, it's imported to always be pounding water, but also be sure to stretch before (~10-15 minutes) and after (~3-10 minutes) you exert a lot of movement.
Kalicious Banana Muffins:
They're green, they're beautiful, they're moist, they're delicious. These incredibly anti-inflammatory packed, absolutely scrumptious muffins are the perfect on-the-go treat for breakfast or snack!