It’s true, you are what you eat! Your body is constantly repairing, healing and rebuilding it’s cells. Its the nutrients from the food that you eat that form the structure and function of your bones, joints, skin, hair muscles, digestive system and brain.
Alongside movement, exercise and improving posture, what you put on your plate every day is important. Here are just some of the nutrients your bones, spine and joints need to function properly.
Calcium & Vitamin D – For healthy bones
Calcium and vitamin D work together to protect your bones. Calcium helps to build and maintain bone density, while vitamin D is essential for the absorption of calcium.
Aside from dairy products, calcium can be found in sardines, salmon and dark leafy green vegetables. Only small amounts of vitamin D are available from food. The easiest way to get vitamin D is through exposing your skin to sunlight.
Water – For a healthy spine
Between the bones of your spine (vertebrae) there are little discs that help to absorb shock and protect your spine from damage or wear and tear. They are like little jelly donuts, with a tough outer layer and filled with water.
The discs lose water through movement and then rehydrate. If there is not enough water for the discs to absorb what they have lost then it can’t function effectively. With the loss of water they shrink and the outer layer then takes on more stress to support the spine. This can cause stiffness, and pain.
Collagen & Vitamin C – For healthy joints
Collagen is a tough protein that forms the structure of your skin, bones, tendons, cartilage and connective tissue. The body’s natural collagen production slows down as we age – it’s the reason we get wrinkles, sagging skin, joint pain and decreased cartilage!
There has been some research into how collagen can help treat osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis but its had mixed results so far.
Collagen can be found by eating the small bones in tinned salmon and sardines. Also by making or buying bone broth. I add a powered collagen supplement to my smoothie each morning.
It’s also worth mentioning vitamin C as it helps with repair and growth of your body’s tissues and aids the body’s production of collagen.
Vitamin C rich foods include lemons & limes, kiwis, strawberries, broccoli, spinach.
Anti-Inflammatory Foods – For healthy joints
Foods that are high in sugar tend to cause inflammation in the body. It’s a natural immune response to heal but when it is out of control in can cause joint pain, swelling and fatigue.
Apart from reducing foods that are high in sugar or processed, eating anti-inflammatory foods can help.
- Omega 3 rich foods – include salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, herring, chia seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts
- Herbs & spices – Ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, rosemary, basil, thyme, oregano, parsley
- Chocolate – at least 70% cocoa
- Berries – Blackberries, strawberries, blueberries raspberries