Chronicle and Echo - Joint Health 1
Thursday 5th November 2020
As we approach the darker nights, colder days and damp air, many of us can find troublesome symptoms of arthritis and other inflammatory conditions flare up. I am a keen cyclist and runner, and I will admit that as we go from summer to autumn, I can sometimes hear my joints groaning at me and telling me to go back to bed!
It is essential to be mindful of new aches and pains and any usual ones that become worse, so please do keep in touch with your GP or Nurse, but if you have the same old grumbles from the same old places, you could think a little bit about what you eat.
It is reported that our diet can really help reduce the risk of joint issues and help prevent them from getting worse and as I enjoy keeping fit and want to continue with this for years to come, I'm going to do all I can to look after myself. There are ingredients out there that can really work as a natural medicine for joints, so it's worth learning a little more.
Dark Green Leafy Greens
This seems to be on the all the "must eat" lists for healthy eating! I'm quite lucky as I really enjoy green vegetables simply steamed, but what if you don't? I regularly see a Mexican wave of eye rolls as I put an evening meal on the table for that is heavily occupied by the green stuff, so I do try and jazz them up a bit.
1. Kale Chips - Wash and dry kale, sprinkle with a little olive oil and sea salt (a bit of parmesan if you like) and bake for 8-10 minutes in a hot oven until crisp.
2. Greens Gratin - Lightly steam any greens, make or buy a good quality cheese sauce, pour a little over the top with some breadcrumbs. Bake until crisp.
3. Plain but tasty - lightly steam, drizzle with 1 tbsp melted low-fat spread and sprinkle on a little garlic powder, salt and any dried herbs you have. Simple - but can make a big difference.
Omega-3 rich food
We are advised to eat 2 portions of oily fish a week to get an adequate supply of his joint healthy nutrient. Oily fish doesn't have to be expensive or messy as there are some easy versions available. Smoked mackerel fillets found in the cooked fish area are perfect to be flaked from the pack over a salad or put in a sandwich. Tinned sardines are a staple ingredient in my house - bagels and sardines in tomato sauce, toasted in the oven are glorious. Remember, tinned tuna doesn't count, but tinned salmon does. If you can't manage the sight or smell of oily fish, you can always resort to Omega-3 capsules for the benefits.
Calcium and Vitamin D
Calcium, found in dairy products, is a mineral we know is great for bone health and including this in our diets is great for long term joint management. Do take note that the low-fat versions of dairy products still contain the same amount of calcium, so you won't need to stockpile double cream and full fat milk and yoghurts for the winter, as you really don't need to.
Vitamin D is also essential for bone health and it helps regulate calcium, so try and include eggs and oily fish for this too. Many cereals and milk are fortified with Vitamin D, so keep an eye out.
A deficiency in selenium is associated with arthritis progressing more quickly so this is worth knowing. Brazil nuts are a great source of this mineral, but you don't need many!
Mediterranean Type Diet
Lastly, the ingredients used in this part of the world: pulses, nuts, olive oils, vegetables and fruit, are thought to promote healthy joints and general good health, so make some changes to your diet and eat like you're on holiday! If nothing else, it will put a smile on our face.
Next time I will share some joint healthy meals that you can make for you and your family and give you some lifestyle tips to help improve symptoms of joint issues. We should make use of these wonderful ingredients available to us, as nature really is our friend and it's with us for life.