Nutrition Tips For Nourishing Achy Joints

Your bones do such a good job of supporting your every move it is easy to take them for granted. But healthy joints equal a better quality of life, so regardless of your age, being proactive by taking a few simple steps can keep them in top form as you age.
A joint is where two or more bones are joined together. Joints can be rigid like the joints between the bones in your skull, or movable, like knees, hips, and shoulders. Many joints have cartilage on the ends of the bones where they come together. Healthy cartilage helps you move by allowing bones to glide over one another. It also protects bones by preventing them from rubbing up against one another.
Unfortunately, joint discomfort such as stiffness when standing or pain when walking up stairs can effect men and women of all ages and all levels of fitness. And if you don’t have cracking in your joints, stiffness, or pain now, the CDC paints a gloom picture reporting that 1 in 5 US adults currently has arthritis with a projected increase to 67 million by 2030.
Stiffness, pain, cracking, and discomfort are just some of the symptoms that can result from lack of joint care. Strains, sprains, dislocations, and arthritis are four more things you want to avoid as you age. And while you can’t bring back cartilage that’s already been lost, there are a number of steps you can take to either prevent the wear or reduce the pain associated with joint pain.
Fill Your Plate with Anti-Inflammatory Foods
Inflammation plays a major role in joint cartilage deterioration so aim to make most of your choices nutrient dense and high in antioxidants and phytochemicals. Fill up on whole unprocessed fruits, vegetables, grains, and include healthy fats such as avocado, olive oil, and omega-3’s found in chia, flax, hemp, and fatty fish. Limit consumption of red meat, full-fat dairy products, refined sugars, and highly processed foods.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Carrying extra weight puts additional strain on your joints. An extra 2 pounds of weight is equivalent to bearing an extra 6 pounds of force on the joints of the lower body. Research has shown that losing 5% of your body weight has a noticeable effect on reducing pain from arthritis.
Engage in Regular Physical Activity
Exercise can help you to lose extra pounds and maintain a healthy weight. Some research suggests that aerobic exercise (running, cycling) can also reduce joint swelling. It sounds counterintuitive, exercising when a joint hurts, however, the only way a joint gets nutrients is through exercise. Focus on low-impact activities such as walking, swimming, and cycling, and aim for 30 minutes of moderate activity most days of the week, or a total of about 150 minutes. If you are new to exercise, start slowing with 10-minute bouts such as a brisk walk at lunchtime.
Supplement Wisely
Certain supplements can promote healthier joints by reducing inflammation, or repairing damaged cartilage. This article on joint health by Dr. Lori Shemek provides a good overview on top supplements for joint health.

Cosamin DS, available at Walmart, is a supplement that contains a trademarked high quality glucosamine and chrondroitin sulfate combination, two of the most researched nutrients for joint health. Studies have confirmed that glucosamine is effective for reducing joint discomfort, and chondroitin can help reduce comfort and keep cartilage healthy. Before you hit the Walmart pharmacy, discuss the benefits of supplementing with your registered dietitian or doctor.


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