Hello, everyone! This is Dr. Bob Salamon with Lowcountry Chiropractic. As always, I hope you’re doing well and staying healthy! In my last post, we talked about degenerative disc disease, a condition in which a damaged disc causes pain. Today, we’ll be discussing some of the best foods for bone and joint health. Eating a proper diet is essential for our overall health and wellness, but there are certain foods that are especially great for your bones and joints. When it comes to bone health, it is likely that you have heard about the importance of milk. That’s no myth– milk is a great source of calcium, which is great for your bones, and we’ll get into why later. But you are not limited to milk– there are many more options out there to promote healthy bones and joints. If you are interested in learning more about the best foods for bone and joint health, you’re in the right place. Let’s dive right in.
First, let’s take a closer look at bones and joints. Bones are living, growing tissue made up mostly of collagen. Collagen is a type of protein naturally produced by the body and is found in various parts of the body including tendon, bone, and skin. It is the most abundant protein in the body, and plays a vital role in the structure and function of skin, cartilage, bone, and connective tissue. The collagen provides a framework for the bone, while calcium phosphate hardens the framework and adds strength. Calcium phosphate is a type of mineral that aids in healthy bone development and is crucial from infancy to adulthood. More than 99 percent of the calcium in the body is found in the bones and teeth, while the remaining 1 percent is in the blood. The combination of collagen and calcium makes our bones strong and flexible enough to withstand stress. Joints help allow movement and are complex structures made of bone, cartilage, muscles, and ligaments. Bones work together with our muscles and joints to hold our body together and give us the freedom of movement. This is known as the musculoskeletal system.
As mentioned before, bone is a living tissue, which means that this tissue is constantly renewing itself. During childhood and adolescence, new bone is added to the skeleton faster than the old bone is removed. This encourages bones to become heavier, larger, and denser. By the time you reach your 20s, the density of minerals in your bones is at its peak. As you continue aging, your bone mass can stabilize or start slowly declining. This decline can lead to fractures and weak and brittle bones, which often results in a disease called osteoporosis. The route your bones take is largely determined by your lifestyle. If you lead a healthy lifestyle with plenty of exercise and a diet sufficient in calcium and vitamins, C, D, A, and K, you can prevent bone loss.
Now that we have an understanding of how our bones and joints work, let’s take a look at some of the best foods that promote bone and joint health!
Bell peppers are rich in vitamin C, which is an essential vitamin that must be consumed in the diet. Vitamin C is necessary for the body to develop and function properly, and it also helps your body make collagen. As mentioned previously, collagen is essential for bones and joints– it makes up parts of your cartilage, tendons, and ligaments that cushion the joints and hold them together. One medium-sized red bell pepper is one of the richest dietary sources of vitamin C, providing approximately 169% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)! Other foods high in vitamin C include citrus fruits, tomatoes, and pineapple.
Salmon is a popular fatty fish that is regarded as one of the most nutritious foods on the planet. It is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been found to improve bone strength, prevent bone decay, and augment bone mineralization. Salmon also contains vitamin D, which is also necessary for strong bones and muscles. Vitamin D helps our bodies effectively absorb calcium and phosphorus, which is another mineral found in bones. According to experts, one of the best ways to get the most out of salmon is by buying and eating canned salmon. Three ounces of canned salmon has 187 milligrams of calcium! If salmon isn’t your thing, you can try other naturally oily fish, such as trout or sardines, which also contain omega-3 fatty acids.
Looking for a substitute for peanut butter? Almond butter is a great choice. It is made from ground, roasted almonds, which have a reputation for being a healthy snack. Almond butter is generally high in calories, but it is also rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, such as calcium, potassium, vitamin E, magnesium, and iron. In fact, almond butter contains 60 milligrams of calcium, which is 5% of the recommended daily intake. Magnesium is also important for healthy bones– it helps your body better absorb calcium. Additionally, people with higher intakes of magnesium have been shown to have a higher bone mineral density, which is important for reducing the risk of fractures and conditions such as osteoporosis. Vitamin E has been shown to reduce the risk of bone fractures and preserve bone mass.
Cruciferous vegetables are a diverse group of vegetables with an array of health benefits. Vegetables that are considered cruciferous include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, bok choy, cabbage, cauliflower, radish, and turnips. These veggies are low in calories and rich in antioxidants, folate, vitamins C, E, and K, and fiber. They are considered nutritional powerhouses! Vitamin K is essential for bone health, as it plays a role in the carboxylation of many bone-related proteins and regulates bone reabsorption. Vitamin K activates proteins involved in bone formation and mineralization. Additionally, cruciferous vegetables contain phytonutrients, which are plant-based compounds that may be linked to reducing or lowering inflammation in the joints. Inflammation of the joints can not only be painful, but chronic inflammation can lead to a reduction in bone density.
Ginger is a flowering plant whose root is widely used as a spice. It is among the healthiest spices on the planet, and has been used in herbal medicine for centuries. The main bioactive compound in ginger is known as gingerol, and it is responsible for the majority of ginger’s medicinal properties. Gingerol has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Because of these properties, studies have shown that ginger has reduced symptoms of arthritis.
Beans such as kidney, garbanzo, and cannellini beans are rich in iron, which is a mineral needed for the body’s growth and development. Iron helps your body make collagen that is needed to rebuild bone. Additionally, they are great sources of fiber and protein. Studies have shown that dietary fibers can benefit bone health by increasing mineral absorption. Protein can also increase muscle mass and calcium absorption. It is important to note that beans also contain substances called phytates, which can affect the body’s ability to absorb the calcium in beans. A good way to avoid this is by soaking beans in water for several hours before cooking them in fresh water– this reduces the phytate level.
These are just a few of the many foods out there that are great for bone and joint health. Just as you regularly take care of your eyes and teeth, you should do the same for your bones! A healthy lifestyle can help prevent bone loss, fractures, and conditions such as osteoporosis. Additionally, keeping your body healthy is a great way to get the most out of your chiropractic adjustments. If you have any further questions about bone health or chiropractic care, feel free to reach out to us. I hope you found this article informative. If you or a loved one are suffering from any type of joint or back pain, you may benefit from chiropractic care. Consider reaching out to Lowcountry Chiropractic! We specialize in different chiropractic techniques, as well as both therapeutic and Swedish massage. Send us an email or give us a call and we’ll assess the situation and develop a treatment plan to address your needs. We want to help you live a healthy and pain-free life– it’s what you deserve. As always, this is Dr. Bob and I have your back covered!
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