Did you know that in addition to regular physical activity, proper nutrition also plays a major role in healthy bones and joints? The National Osteoporosis Foundation suggests that the foods we eat for healthy bones are needed for calcium absorption and bone formation, which can prevent bone loss associated with osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is a disease of the bones that happens when you lose too much bone, make too little bone or both. As a result, your bones become weak and may break from a minor fall or, in serious cases, even from sneezing or bumping into furniture.
Foods that are excellent for bone health, like dark green, leafy vegetables, whole grains, asparagus, avocados, broccoli, figs and soybeans, contain important vitamins and minerals such as calcium, vitamin C, vitamin D, magnesium and zinc. Good nutrition is also essential for healthy joints because it aids in the construction of joint cartilage, supports the healing of injuries and ensures proper transport of nutrients to cartilage for repair.
Great joint-health foods contain magnesium and sulfur which contain anti-inflammatory properties to reduce pain and swelling. These foods include pineapple, kidney beans and lentils, tomatoes, spinach, almonds, oranges and bananas.
Are You At Risk?
Bone and joint care are an integral part of overall physical health. The following risk factors are associated with the development of arthritis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
Non-modifiable risk factors (You have no control over these risk factors.)
•Age. The risk of developing most types of arthritis increases with age.
•Gender. Sixty percent of all arthritis patients are women, however, gout is more common in men.
•Genetic. Specific genes are associated with a higher risk of certain types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), systemic lupus erythematous (SLE) and ankylosing spondylitis.
Modifiable risk factors (You have control over these risk factors.)
•Excess weight and obesity. Excess weight can contribute to both the onset and progression of knee osteoarthritis.
•Joint injuries. Damage to a joint can contribute to the development of osteoarthritis in that joint.
•Infection. Many microbial agents can infect joints and potentially cause the development of various forms of arthritis.
•Occupation. Certain occupations involving repetitive knee bending and squatting are associated with osteoarthritis of the knee.
Regular physical activity (at least 150 minutes per week) and the maintenance of a healthy weight are two of the largest contributing factors for healthy bones and joints and as well as for arthritis management.
While men and women of all ages and ethnicities can develop osteoporosis, some of the more common features associated with osteoporosis include:
•Small in body size
•Consuming a diet low in calcium
In addition to the management of arthritis, weight-bearing physical exercise and the consumption of calcium rich foods can also contribute to the prevention of osteoporosis.