Eat yourself into old age! 😊
Getting up from the couch after relaxing and lounging in my favorite parking space where I recover from a physically demanding job is like watching a creaky old transformer toy from the eighties trying to snap back together. Don’t get me wrong, I am by no means decrepit. But in those moments, I swear I need duct tape to set myself straight! It seems like I end up in a funny duck-walk semi-squat hover position from where it seems I can’t decide whether I need to pee or not, but sometimes my hip joints just don’t want to cooperate. Thankfully this passes quickly, and I zoom around soon enough like none of this embarrassing posture ever happened.
When I was younger, I was an avid ballet dancer so there is some possibility that my joints creak occasionally because they were put to the test from vigorous use over twenty years without mercy. But I refuse to accept that I am dilapidated and stiff. My posture is pretty good, at least from what I can see in the X-rated mirror in my bedroom, and from what my husband tells me (no words required😉). I do find myself sucking in my gut (which looks physiologically absolutely fine), turn this way and that, and secretly hope I never have to suffer like some of my patients with bad backs and knees and shattered hips.
Several years ago, after many years of vacillating about my physical health, I surprised myself by walking into a gym (terrifying experience!) and signing up for trainer sessions. It was the best thing I ever did, because my trainer is amazing, fun, and has kept me lifting, toned, and strong since then! With my regular exposure to those who struggle with poor strength and balance in old age, I of course think often about what it will take not to get to this state anytime soon. Seeing some kick-butt-nonagenarians who lift, run, and swim almost daily gives me hope that excellent mobility and balance is doable into high seniority!
What does it take to baby your joints, keep a strong back, and maintain good balance into older age? There are a couple of things: good nutrition and the right kind of regular exercise for a strong core. I will explore all these topics with you over the next few weeks.
For today, let’s start with
Foods that keep your joints feeling great and well-oiled:
Maintaining a healthy diet is crucial for supporting joint health. Here are some foods that are particularly beneficial to keep your joints healthy and humming:
1. Fatty fish, such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which have anti-inflammatory properties and can help you reduce joint pain and stiffness, a benefit all other listed food groups bring to keep your articulates purring along smoothly.
2. Nuts and seeds are a great source of healthy fats, vitamin E, and antioxidants. Almonds, walnuts, and flaxseeds are particularly beneficial.
3. Leafy green vegetables such as kale, spinach, and broccoli are rich in antioxidants and vitamin C.
4. Whole grains, such as brown rice, quinoa, and whole-wheat bread are rich in fiber and play a role in reducing inflammation in the body, regulate gut health and keep you going regularly (literally and figuratively).
5. Olive oil is loaded with healthy fats as well as oleocanthal which has anti-inflammatory properties. Enjoy extra virgin olive oil which retains more nutrients than standard processed olive oils.
6. Beans are loaded with fiber and phytonutrients which help lower inflammatory markers. They are also an excellent source of protein which is important for muscles health (more on your strength apparatus later). Small red beans, red kidney beans, and pinto beans rank among the top four antioxidant-containing foods according to the US Department of Agriculture.
7. Nightshade vegetables, including eggplant, tomatoes, red bell peppers and potatoes, are packed with nutrients for maximum impact with minimal calorie load. There is some controversy about the compound solanine, a chemical implicated in arthritis pain. However, there is no scientific evidence that consuming nightshade vegetables triggers arthritis flare ups. But if you are concerned, eliminate them from your diet for a few weeks and see whether you notice a difference.
8. Berries, such as blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries are rich in antioxidants.
9. Ginger and turmeric are spices with anti-inflammatory properties and work well in a variety of delicious recipes for some of the above items.
10.Dairy products, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt are rich in calcium and vitamin D which are essential for maintaining strong and healthy bones. This in turn – you guessed it – keeps your joints doing well also.
Incorporating these foods into your diet can help keep your joints well-oiled and reduce the risk of pain, stimulate joint regeneration, and help you feeling more energized in general.
(Note: if you are intolerant to certain food groups, have a medical illness requiring diet restrictions, or prefer a vegan or other specialized diet, please refer to sources specifically created for your needs.)
It sounds like there is so much you can do to keep your joints healthy by just sitting and enjoying a meal. If you are like me, you probably did not spawn into this world with a fully formed idea of what good nutrition translates into regarding healthful foods high on the comfort and yum factor scale. I did not start eating (and more importantly cooking) in the realm of the above recommended assortment of goodies until I met my husband, and we started cooking together – for wellness, good health, and most importantly fun! It was a process we went through as a team in the
kitchen, exploring dishes discovered on our travels, new recipes, and experimenting with different ways to cook otherwise blah sounding food stuffs that may send some people running for the hills (just recall people making faces in response to kale).
As part of our journey together, I would like to start introducing some of our wins and yums in the kitchen that we discovered over the years, combined with some speed cooking skills I hope you find valuable.
We will start posting quick tips, tricks, and easy recipes from our “Cadwell Kitchen” in the next few weeks. Be sure to check back for our upcoming section on speed cooking power foods!
Lastly, other than your joints, your entire body will benefit from these goodies, so you slow aging and creakiness in several areas: your guts, your skin, your brain, your eyes, to name a few, will thank you and keep you enjoying life hopefully much longer.
XOXO from Katharina
If you are interested in further reading on the topic of diet recommendations, check out the links below:
The 'Harvard diet' may be standard for living a long, healthy life:
Are olives good for you? Here is what the science says:
The ultimate arthritis diet:
Popular supplements for arthritis: what you need to know:
9 supplements for joint pain: