We all rely on our joints being healthy to keep us moving throughout our lives. However, wear and tear at work and in our personal lives can put added strain on them, particularly as we get older.

A few simple changes to your diet can have a huge impact on your overall joint health. Here are some key tips to consider when it comes to your day-to-day lifestyle.

Controlling body weight

Preventing excess weight gain is the most effective way of maintaining joint health.

This means keeping body fat within a healthy range and maintaining lean muscle, both of which are achievable by staying active, eating a balanced diet and ensuring adequate protein intake. This in turn helps maintain muscle and repair connective tissue, which supports our joints. Obesity is the main modifiable risk factor for osteoarthritis, so staying on top of your weight is hugely important.

You can find some tips on healthy diets on MyFFC:

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Adding more protein

The amount of protein a person requires from their diet varies depending on their level of physical activity and their age.

To maintain muscle mass, the average adult requires about 0.8 g of protein per kg of body weight, per day (0.8 g/kg/d). As we age, our bodies become less efficient at repairing and building muscle – in fact, from the age of 30 we lose an average of 1% of our muscle mass per year – so older adults may require as much as 1.6 g/kg/d.

The protein should be spread as evenly as possible throughout the day and across each meal. Rich food sources include meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, nuts, seeds, beans and pulses.

Regular physical activity

As well as cardiorespiratory exercise, you should include at least two sessions of resistance exercise per week in your routine, which stimulates that all-important muscle replenishment.

Training with weights, resistance bands, body weight exercises (calisthenics) and yoga – tips for which can be found on MyFFC here – are all forms of resistance exercise. This regular physical activity will also help to prevent excess accumulation of body fat that occurs with aging, which will reduce the impact of wear and tear on the joints whilst reducing the likelihood of chronic low-grade inflammation associated with poorer joint health.

Pack in micronutrients

Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables (at least 5 portions per day) will provide plenty of vitamin C, which is essential for the body to make collagen. Collagen forms part of the cartilage that protects the ends of the bones in joints.

A diet rich in fruits and vegetables will also help to reduce inflammation in the body. Meanwhile, Omega 3 fatty acids help to reduce inflammation, with the richest dietary source being oily fish (mackerel, salmon, sardines, trout and herring). It is recommended you eat two servings of fish per week (at least one of which should be oily).

Greg hosts a nutrition group on MyFFC, covering all areas of nutrition – as well as recipes to try at home. One of his first will be a great option for healthy joints. Join his group, share your own recipes and find out more by registering on the button below and then clicking here.

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