How to Manage your Joint Health

A study conducted in 2008 estimated that a total of 130 million people in the United States of America suffered from at least one form of joint pain. This includes various forms of arthritis, gout, fibromyalgia and carpal tunnel syndrome.

The same study showed that it's not only people in the older age groups that suffered from these kinds of pain, but that many people in their twenties also reported some form of joint pain.

The prevalence of joint pain in society can be attributed partly to high impact activities like sports, but also to dietary factors.

Many of these injuries and conditions can be avoided or reduced simply by paying attention to the health of your joints.

Having healthy joints starts with eating right and is helped by doing the right exercises to strengthen your joints and reduce the impact of physical stress on them.

There is strong scientific evidence that suggests the inclusion of some food groups in your diet can help to protect your joints from unnecessary wearing, and they can enhance the healing and regeneration of joints.

There are also a number of natural supplements available which contain extracts from these foods.

If you're interested in supplements for joint health, you can visit this website for more information: https://www.reviewy.org/. Reviewy contains expert reviews of various natural supplements to help customers choose the right one for them.

 Photo by  Matthew Kane  on  Unsplash

Photo by Matthew Kane on Unsplash

Manage Your Joint Health Naturally

The Function Of Joints

There are actually various kinds of joints in the body that are classified based on their range of motion.

Some joints, like those in the skull, don't move it all, some have a little bit of movement like the discs in the spine, and then there are the ones which are most commonly the cause of pain, the joints which have a large range of movement.

The function of joints is to connect bones together, and in some cases, allow bone structures to change shape and move. When we conduct any physical activity like walking or swimming, or even driving, we use our joints to allow bone structures to move. We absolutely need this movement to be able to do just about everything that we do in a day.

Joints bear the pressure of movement so that it doesn't damage the bones. They also stop the bones from rubbing together as this would be incredibly painful. The main joints that bear stress are the synovial joints, such as the elbow and the knee.

Understanding Joint Health

Joints are largely joints composed of cartilage which is a firm tissue but it is also soft on the inside. It's fairly similar to bone but a lot more flexible. Most joint pain and injuries come from those which have damaged cartilage.

On a microscopic scale, the joint is an even more active tissue. The cells in the joint are constantly secreting proteins and other substances to help regenerate damaged joint tissue.

Unfortunately, the remarkable regeneration of joints can be overwhelmed when they are exposed to constant stress and damage.

Damage to the joints causes inflammation. Inflammation is normally designed to stimulate tissue healing and repair, but when it happens too often, the joint becomes swollen and painful. This causes cells within the joint to release reactive oxygen species that cause damage to their neighboring cells. This leads to a faster breakdown of the cartilage in a joint.

So the way to reduce this damage is twofold. The first way is to reduce the amount of physical stress that your joints are exposed to, and to do exercises to strengthen them so that they are better prepared for the stress. The second way is to eat foods which are rich in antioxidants.

Antioxidants decrease the levels of reactive oxygen species in the joints, and help to reduce the harmful inflammation that causes joint pain.

How Your Diet Affects Your Joints

Having a healthy diet can help to reduce the chance of developing almost any chronic disorder. It's exactly the same with joints. Outright, just eating the correct foods can help you to manage your weight. Having a healthy weight reduces the level of physical stress on all of your joints.

But certain foods also contain compounds that directly reduce the inflammation and pain that a person experiences when their joints are injured. For example, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, brussels sprouts and cabbage contain something called sulforaphane.

Sulforaphane reduces cartilage breakdown under inflammatory conditions. It does this by deactivating inflammatory proteins which are responsible for destroying the cartilage.

Another good food is garlic. Garlic contains diallyl disulfide which has similar effects to sulforaphane.

Fatty fish which contain omega-3 fatty acids also help to reduce inflammation by inhibiting the stress signals that joint cells release when they are damaged.

As mentioned earlier, it's also very important to have a diet that is rich in antioxidants, because they neutralize the harmful chemicals that are present in an inflamed joint.

One thing that many people forget is the importance of proper hydration. The joint requires large amounts of fluid to be able to withstand friction and they can dry up especially as you age.

Drinking enough water (about half a gallon a day) can help to prevent joint dehydration.

Exercise Tips To Improve Your Joint Health

Joints are supported by ligaments and tendons so one of the most important things to do when exercising is to warm up correctly. Light exercises like walking get the blood flowing to the muscles and ligaments and produce heat which helps to loosen them.

It's also important to do different forms of exercises and not to do the same exercises too much in a period of time.

There are different forms of cardio exercises and alternating between these can help to reduce the impact that one particular joint faces. There are also some great non impact exercises like swimming.

Another good idea is doing exercises that actually strengthen joints like - yoga or pilates. These exercises help to strengthen the muscles around the joints which add extra support.

Sources

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Bliddal, H., Rosetzsky, A., Schlichting, P., Weidner, M.S., Andersen, L.A., Ibfelt, H.H., Christensen, K., Jensen, O.N. & Barslev, J. (2000). A randomized, placebo-controlled, cross-over study of ginger extracts and ibuprofen in osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, 8(1), 9-12.

Davidson, R.K., Jupp, O., Ferrars, R., Kay, C.D., Culley, K.L., Norton, R., Driscoll, C., Vincent, T.L., Donell, S.T., Bao, Y. and Clark, I.M. (2013). Sulforaphane represses matrix‐degrading proteases and protects cartilage from destruction in vitro and in vivo. Arthritis & Rheumatology, 65(12), 3130-3140.

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Simopoulos, A. P. (2002). Omega-3 fatty acids in inflammation and autoimmune diseases. Journal of the American College of nutrition, 21(6), 495-505.