Protect Your Joints

iStock_000035306816SmallFor 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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


Acid and Alkaline

Scientific or medical glassware

In 1863, Ludwig Feuerbach wrote, “Man is what he eats.” In my work in healthcare and wellness, I frequently find many people have some misunderstanding when it comes to acidic foods and alkaline foods and effects these have on overall health. Thinking back to your high school science class, you may have tested various substances with Litmus paper to see if the paper turned red or blue. pH as you may recall is a 0-14 scale that measures how acidic or basic a substance is. Zero being most acidic, neutral being 7 and 14 being most alkaline. A common description of an acidic substance would be something that tastes sour and thus turns the blue paper red. Of course lemon and grapefruit juice taste sour and are acidic substances, but many people often forget that tomato juice, coffee, tea and sour milk are acidic as well.  On the other hand, alkaline substances turn red litmus paper blue. When mixed together, acids and alkalines typically neutralize each other and create water and salt.

So what does this mean to you and your health? Generally speaking, the metabolic breakdown of foods from the vegetable/fruit category will turn an acidic substance to alkaline, and foods from the animal category change from alkaline to acidic during metabolism. All foods have a combination of both elements within them, but how the pH is effected during metabolism depends on which elements are dominant.

Remember, food is organic matter taken into the body. This matter is broken down into compounds like lipids, amino acids, monosaccharides and such. After metabolism takes place these compounds contain sulphur, phosphorus, chlorine, potassium, sodium, potassium, iron, magnesium, and calcium, each of which leave either an acidic or alkaline residue. This determines the acidity or alkalinity of the body. The first three noted above are acid forming and the rest are alkaline.

Most proteins contain sulphur and phosphorus. During metabolism, these substances are broken down into toxic sulphuric acid and phosphoric acid. In addition, uric acid is another by-product. Uric acid has been proven to have a major influence on the development of arthritis, particularly gout. Meats along with most grains and dairy products are high in protein and thus are acid-forming.

When looking at fruits and vegetables, the organic acids found are metabolized to carbon dioxide and water. This leaves potassium, calcium, magnesium and sodium behind. Therefore, although many fruits are acidic in nature, when broken down, the acids are rendered neutral and the alkaline elements noted above remain.

Why is this information so important? Since we consume various food that are alkaline and acidic, its imperative to consider the balance between the two. If we consume excessive amounts of acidic foods, the body has to tap into its alkaline reserves. This leaves many organs in the body, such as the kidneys, overworked and malfunctioning over time. Organ malfunction is more commonly referred to as “disease” in many forms and the underlying cause, acidosis, largely caused by faulty eating habits, is often never addressed.

So what let’s put aside all the physiology and technical jargon and get down to a blueprint for reducing “disease” and improving health and wellness.

Foods to eat: unroasted nuts and seeds, fresh fruits, uncooked vegetables.

Foods to avoid: animal foods, dairy products, vinegar/condiments, drugs (acidic and alkaline), refined and processed foods, fats in meat and dairy products, teas, coffee, cocoa and chocolate.

By following the guidelines and being more aware of your food choices, you will have a diet rich in essential proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. Your body will not deplete alkaline reserves and overwork the organs of the body. It’s a simple formula that your body can benefit from and maintain balance in health and well-being.

Here’s to your best health yet!

Traci Vincent, PT