For over 26 years I’ve been working with clients who suffer with joint pain often times due to the loss of cartilage that lines their joints. Cartilage is the flexible connective tissue found in many parts of the body, including the joints between bones, the rib cage, the ear, the nose, the bronchial tubes and the intervertebral discs. This loss of cartilage leaves them in constant pain and limited in their movements and activities, thereby lowering their quality of life.
So how do you protect your cartilage to insure that your joints stay painfree, supple and healthy? According to the INH Health Watch report on 5 Ways to Care for Cartilage:
- Eat foods that support elastin in the body. Elastin is a protein in connective tissue that allows it to stretch, and it partners alongside collagen. When you lack elastin, not only will you get wrinkles, you also weaken the cartilage in your joints. This reduces your mobility and function. Vitamin C is crucial, but remember foods like kale, kiwi, broccoli and red bell pepper have more Vitamin C per serving than an orange.
- Free radicals not only damage your eyes and skin, they also damage the cartilage in your joints. Powerful antioxidants are key to fighting oxidative stress. Astaxanthin an antioxidant that is naturally found in cold water fish, like salmon and some sea algae. It gives salmon its pink or red color. You can find this in supplement form, but check the labels closely to understand the purity and quality of this or any supplement for that matter.
- Strong healthy bones and a healthy immune system are built with Vitamin D3. In addition, Vitamin D3 is important in regulating your hormones as well as preserving your joint cartilage. Low levels of D3 advance osteoarthritis, where high levels slow it down. To increase your D3, spend a little time each day in the sun and eat eggs, mushrooms and wild salmon.
- Every joint and piece of cartilage in your body is covered in Hyaluronic acid where they bend. Hyaluronic acid allows nutrients to move into your cartilage while taking waste out. As you age, its not uncommon for your body to produce less of it. To help promote production, some vegetables like carrots and peas can be beneficial. Combining with a good Omega-3 source makes for better absorption as well. Caution, many Omega-3 supplements are high in DHA which makes them 95% unabsorbable. Choose one that is pure, safe and beneficial using more EPA.
- Proteins in the joint maintain their shape, function and structural strength with the help of Sulphur. Arthritic cartilage has 66% less sulphur than normal cartilage. Lack of sulphur can result in loss of flexibility, joint stiffness and muscle soreness. Foods rich in sulphur include kale, onions, garlic, asparagus and eggs.
Since nothing makes you look and feel older than cartilage damage in your joints, I encourage you to take the necessary steps to preserve and support your cartilage while you still have it and prevent osteoarthritis in the first place. Let safe organic foods as noted above, be your best medicine and use pure, safe and beneficial supplements as needed. Total wellness and peak health begin with the foods we put in our bodies, the products that get absorbed through our skin and the quality of thoughts that direct our actions.
If you have questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to contact me or use the comment boxes below. Live well, be well, do well.
Traci Vincent, PT, RYT