What can go wrong?
Some common conditions affecting the muscles and joints include:
Wear and tear
It’s only natural and nearly impossible, in fact, to avoid wear and tear of our muscles and joints as we age. As the bones of our joints move continually over the years, the protective elements including cartilage and synovial fluid within our joints can start to break down and become less abundant
Just as with our joints, it’s natural that we’ll lose a little muscles mass as we age, but muscle cramps could also be a more prominent problem. Muscle cramps could be the result of the side effects of medication, or they could also be a sign of a nutrient deficiency; especially if your digestive system also isn’t working as optimally as it used to!
Osteoarthritis is a result of wear and tear but just to a slightly greater extent. As the cartilage and synovial fluid surrounding our joints starts to diminish over time, it creates inflammation in the area which can quickly give rise to uncomfortable aches, pains and stiffness
Osteoporosis more directly involves the structure of our bones, which can become affected over time. Osteoporosis can involve a lack of calcium and other minerals, plus a decrease in the non-mineral framework of bone (collagen and other proteins) contributes to more porous, weaker bones.
How can diet and lifestyle make a difference?
Whether it’s just wear and tear or something a little more progressive, some useful diet and lifestyle tips can help to give your joints the upmost support:
Everyone assumesthat the emphasis should be on increasing calcium intake when it comes to supporting our joints, but actually, we know that there are a number of other bone-friendly nutrients such as magnesium and vitamin D which we should also be aware of.
Plant-based foods such as leafy greens, nut or seeds contain calcium in a nice balance with these other nutrients such as magnesium, whereas the calcium in dairy products may not be so easily absorbed in humans which is an important consideration.
Another reason to move towards a more plant-based diet is that high levels of acidity in the bloodstream can risk upsetting calcium absorption. Aim to help counter this by reducing intake of animal protein, caffeine and refined or highly processed foods.
Protein is also an important element of our diet, in particular to help support aging muscles. Aim to include a source of protein in every meal and even snacks, and even better when in combination with some good quality fats. Omega-3 in particular is anti-inflammatory and can help offer some relief from achy joints. Good sources of omega-3 include oily fish, flaxseeds, walnuts and chia seeds.
Sedentary lifestyles won’t do your muscles and joints any favours so it can really help to get moving! Weight-bearing exercise is best and even as little as 20-30 minutes of walking daily can be a really good start.
Other unhelpful habits to work on
Unsurprisingly, alcohol intake and smoking can also be detrimental when it comes to the health of our muscles and joints, so these are definitely habits to avoid. Fizzy drinks also discourage absorption when it comes to key vitamins and minerals so cut them out and stick to bubble-free refreshments for the most part! Finally, excess salt could knock the balance of other key bone-boosting minerals in the body, so best to keep your dietary intake to a minimum.
Which products can I add to my regime?
1 - Glucosamine
If osteoarthritis runs in your family or you are already struggling to manage some of the symptoms of this condition, some glucosamine would be a useful supplement to add to your regime. Hadley Wood Glucosamine is a great option as it provides the recommended daily dose of 1500mg daily and is sodium free which is also a protective quality for your bones.
2 - A bone-friendly multi
As above, as much as possible we want to acquire a good range of plant-based nutrients in order to support the health of our muscles and joints as we age. Hadley Wood’s Calci-D-Min is the perfect solution with a highly absorbable, synergistic combination of calcium, magnesium and vitamin D and many more!
3 - Omega 3
To boost your levels of anti-inflammatory omega-3 why not add a supplement to your regime? Flaxseed oil is a particularly popular choice as it’s vegan friendly, otherwise some good quality fish oil capsules are a good option!
4 - Magnesium
The vast majority of us will benefit from an extra dose of magnesium (you’ll most likely see an improvement in everything from your mood to your sleep habits), but your muscles especially, will thank you for it. Working as a gentle muscle relaxant, if muscle cramps trouble you then some magnesium can really help. Opt for a powder form such as MAG365 for maximal absorption.
5 - Protein
For an added boost of protein to your meals or snacks why not add a spoonful of Sun Warrior protein powder. Super versatile, this great tasting, smooth powder is easily digestible and contains the full spectrum of amino acids we need to support our muscles and joints. It’s vegan-friendly too.