Many of us will experience the effects of normal wear and tear on our joints as we age. While we can’t keep from growing older, small preventive measures can help keep joints healthy for a lifetime – consider these nutrition and lifestyle tips:
- Eat an anti-inflammatory diet. Focus on foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as cold water, oily fish like salmon and sardines; walnuts; and freshly ground flaxseed. Spices like ginger and turmeric can also help reduce inflammation. My Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid has more information and specific recommendations.
- Eat foods rich in antioxidants. Found in fresh vegetables and fruit, antioxidants may help reduce tissue damage from inflammation.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Losing just a few pounds can alleviate excess mechanical stress on joints.
- Avoid intense activities that can injure or strain the joint cartilage.
- Get exercise. Performed at a level that does not stress joints, daily physical activity is the key to maintaining lifelong mobility – it strengthens surrounding muscles that support and protect joints. Swimming, stationary cycling and light weight training are good choices, as are stretching and balance exercises such as yoga and tai chi.
Everyone's dietary needs are different based on a number of factors including lifestyle, diet, medications and more. To find out what vitamins you need, take the Weil Vitamin Advisor. This 3-step questionnaire requires just minutes to complete, and generates a free, no-obligation vitamin and nutritional supplement recommendation that is personalized to meet your unique nutritional needs.
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