Banish aches and pains with this holistic plan to keep your body in perfect working order
“There are many supplements on the market that state they improve joint pains,” says Mr Gorav Datta, orthapaedic surgeon at the Hip and Knee Clinic (hipandkneeclinics.com). “The only one proven to help in knee arthritis is glucosamine – I recommend taking glucosamine with chondroitin. If there is no improvement after three months, then you can discontinue use.” Try Healthspan Glucosamine & Chondroitin, £10.95, healthspan.co.uk
You know the drill: get your omega 3! This essential fatty acid help with inflammation in the body, and one study found it helped lessen joint pain in rheumatoid arthritis sufferers. Cold-water oily fish like salmon, mackerel and trout are best, and if you hate the idea of a weekly fish supper, try a supplement.
Cherries are coming into season, and you’d be wise to snack on a few because studies indicate that Montmotency tart cherries can help reduce inflammation related to arthritis and gout (which is itself a form of arthritis too). And don’t forget brilliant broccoli: high in vitamins K and C, this cruciferous vegetable contains a compound called sulforaphane, which researchers have found could help slow osteoarthritis progression. It’s also got a decent amount of calcium for strong bones. Between meals, drink green tea, because it’s packed with polyphenols, antioxidants believed to reduce inflammation and slow cartilage destruction.
Ayurveda, the ancient system of medicine, says heavy, stiff feelings in the joints are due to ama, or digestive toxins, in the body. These are the kind of pains brought on by a bout of cold but humid weather. If ama is unresolved, it converts to amavisha, which is even more toxic in the joints and can cause them to be inflamed, swollen and painful. Ayurveda recommends an ama-reducing diet, which focuses on all food eaten being fully digested (undigested food causes the body to become toxic). Nourishing soups and warm, freshly cooked grains and vegetables cooked with stimulating spices to kick-start digestion are recommended. Try chewing D’Mix Digestive Aid, £23.50, planetorganic.com
Drinking ama pachana water throughout the day is purifying and will boost digestion. To make, put three slices of fresh ginger, quarter teaspoon cumin, quarter teaspoon fennel, two black peppercorns and two fresh mint leaves into a Thermos flask, then add boiling water. Leave to steep, then sip thoughout the day.
Joint degeneration can also be caused by vata problems (in Ayurveda, vata is the dosha which governs flow and motion around the body. To pacify vata, it’s recommended you eat your main meal at noon, and a light, nourishing dinner in the evening. Avoid caffiene and an acid-forming diet (processed meats and other foods). Include high-calcium vegetables such as spinach, kale and asparagus, plus other freshly-cooked organic vegetables.
“Weight loss is one of the key improvements a person can make to prevent pain,” says Mr Datta. “The hips and knees are the major weight-bearing joints in the body, which is why they are the joints that deteriorate in arthritis, and are the most commonly replaced joints. For example, if someone weighs 100kg and is overweight for their height, and they lose 20kg, they reduce the work of their hips and knees by 20 percent, which can have a massive effect on symptoms. Too many patients rely on a surgical solution instead of simpler, safe measures like weightloss.”
“Try these moves to strengthen the muscles, which will in turn help with joint issues,” says Mr Datta.
For the hips: Lie flat, straighten your legs and raise one at a time, ten times each, three times a day. Then lie on your side and perform a straight leg raise, ten times on both sides, three times a day.
For the knees: sit in a chair or on the end of your bed and do simple knee straightening – these can be done with a weight for added strengthening.
Stand on one leg and raise your other leg to the side, to the front and behind (alternate legs)
Perform a wall squat – bend the knees 90 degrees and try to hold for 30 seconds.
Check out these two joint-boosting supplements - magnesium is essential for good bone health and collagen can stimulate the growth of new cartilage tissue in joints:
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