Whether you’ve taken an extended break or were forced onto one, getting back into any physical activity routine can be strenuous on your body – especially your joints.
At all ages we should be mindful of how quickly a shift in our lifestyle can impact our ability to “jump back” into things. Joint injuries can easily be caused by not stretching after a workout, lifting weights that are too heavy, and by not warming up or cooling down.
The easiest way to offer protection to your joints is to simply increase your dedication to working out gradually and be mindful of your intensities so that you don’t over do it too quickly and end up having to take time off to heal.
Maybe you’ve stayed active in between seasons (well done!) or maybe you hit a new level of motionlessness (that’s ok!), either way, please move slowly towards becoming more active.
But what else can help? Your food choices!
While the sun is still out, be sure to get some Vitamin D. This vitamin is essential to helping your body absorb nutrients from the foods you consume.
Below I’ve made a list of common and maybe not so common foods that should become a part of your nutritional health for optimal growth, recovery and protection to your body overall but with a specific focus on joint care.
Garlic & Onions – likely the most commonly consumed members of the allium family, challenge yourself to also add in leeks, shallots and chives, to up your intake of the powerful sulphur compounds they have to offer; those compounds help fight inflammation and pain. Bonus: alliums bring more flavour to a dish, often reducing people’s increased use of unnecessary salt and sugar laden condiments such as ketchup.
Almonds – These nuts are easy to find and delicious all on their own. Almonds, when compared to peanuts, have a higher manganese content which makes them an excellent choice when getting back into training and even after light exercise. Manganese helps glucosamine work quicker and more effectively to repair the joints. Why is glucosamine important? Well it’s a natural compound found in cartilage and provides the strong tissue that ultimately cushions the joints.
Chia – Are you familiar with these little seeds that became a popular commercial tune back in the late 80s?!?! Ch-ch-ch-chia! Within only a few days you’d have long stand up strands of Bob Ross hair to trim on your clay head if you smeared them on and kept them watered…. and to think, we should have actually been eating them!
Often being consumed as “chia pudding” these tiny little seeds are soaked in a liquid and become mucilaginous and incredibly good for your digestive health. They are an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids, protein and best yet – all 9 Essential Amino Acids are found in this powerful seed. What happens when you consume EAAs on a regular basis? Your body repairs muscle tissues, ligaments and tendons more easily and efficiently.
Coconut oil – This delicious and diverse product can be consumed and even used topically. The combination of the healthy medium chain triglycerides (which are absorbed quickly) and the good fats, are so important to keep yourself in a healthy weight zone which then reduces the stress on your joints.
Raw Spinach – An average bunch of raw spinach (which I often find usually equates to the teeny tiniest amount of cooked spinach… ugh) is not only a great source of potassium; but also filled with a fabulous amount of phytonutrients such as chlorophyll. The potassium will play a role in reducing pain caused in the joints from arthritis. The impact of raw versus cooked? The potassium will be lost during the cook process and you’ll receive greater benefit from the contribution of enzymes which help to renew tissues.
Here are a few meal suggestions using the ingredients listed above to help you:
• Dairy-free Potato Leek Soup. Served up in the fall at Hello Bonjour and filled with garlic, leeks and onions! Often topped with a fresh sprinkling of chives.
• Apple Slices and Almond Butter. This is the perfect post game and before bed snack! Hello Bonjour has freshly made nut butters available and if you’re feeling a little adventurous, try their vanilla cinnamon almond butter!
• Chia Pudding! A staple at Hello Bonjour. Find this little jar of goodness in our grab and go fridge, freshly topped daily with an organic berry or seasonal fruit. Before sending it away with you, we top it with our signature granola!
• Coconut Oil! This might be a new one for you. Try swapping out your go to cooking oil for an organic coconut oil! All recipes, especially any that include lightly frying up some veggies (think stirfry!), will be enhanced with the addition to this flavourful oil.
• Raw spinach. I feel like this one is too easy…. a smoothie! Our housemade Tropikale smoothie is often the first to sell out! Come to Hello Bonjour when we open to get your hands on an ice cold healthy beverage that is filled with raw spinach but also organic pineapple and hemp hearts to make it a deliciously balanced smoothie.
With a few simple adjustments to your workouts and your nutrient intake you’ll be set to not only be actively protecting your joints, but maybe even helping them heal.
Cheers to health and happiness!
Culinary Nutrition Expert & Owner of Hello Bonjour in Wellington
Find out more about Culinary Nutrition, Healthy Lifestyle Tips, Delicious Recipes and maybe even book a Cooking Class or Demonstration at www.hellobonjourpec.com
And please follow @hellobonjourpec to inspire you to eat the rainbow!