1. Shed Excess Weight
Carrying around excess weight puts your joints under added pressure, especially your hips and knees. Research shows that losing 1 pound subtracts 4 pounds of pressure from the knees!!
- Lose 1 pound = Relieve 4 pounds of pressure
- Lose 10 pounds = Relieve 40 pounds of pressure
To lose a pound a week, you need to burn about 3,500 calories more than you consume… or about 500 calories per day. This deficit comes from diet and or exercise, however, if joint pain is keeping you from exercising try making small changes to your diet.
For example, eliminating a 12oz Coke will save you 140 calories and replacing your second slice of pizza with a small side salad can save another 200 calories.
2. Eat to Reduce Inflammation
Certain foods have been shown to reduce inflammation in the body, which can help with joint pain.
Great foods to eat are:
- Olive Oil (healthy fats)
- Salmon (fish with healthy fats)
- Nuts and seeds
Also, be sure to eat 5-9 servings of fruit and vegetables every day. Produce is high in antioxidants, which help neutralize free radicals that damage healthy cells. Make sure to vary the types of fruits and vegetables – try to eat a rainbow of colors – each color has different micronutrients.
3. Calcium and Vitamin D = Bone Health
Calcium is a mineral that helps to maintain existing bone strength and is also the building block for new bone.
- Recommended daily allowance = 1000-1200 mg
- Dairy is a common source of calcium. 1 cup of milk has 300 mg of calcium!
Try these non-dairy foods for calcium:
- Fortified orange juice
Vitamin D protects your bones and your helps your body absorb Calcium.
- Recommended daily allowance = 600-800 IU
- Vitamin D is naturally available in only a few foods – one of the best sources is the SUN!
These foods have Vitamin D:
- Wild-caught mackerel
- Wild-caught salmon
- Wild-caught tuna
- Some milks have added Vitamin D
You can also take supplements for Calcium and Vitamin D. If you've recently broken a bone, had joint surgery or have a history of osteoporosis consult your physician before taking supplements.
Before starting any type of joint supplement, do your homework and consult with your physician. Not all supplements are created equal and not all make accurate marketing statements. Your physician or dietitian can advise you on the best ones for your needs.