Whether you’re a serious athlete or simply getting to a “certain age,” aching joints and muscles can start to become more than an occasional problem. Even worse, you may find it more difficult to recover from strains and sprains. But you can begin doing more to prevent new injuries — and recover from current ones — simply by adding key nutrients to your health routine. If joint and muscle health is a priority, there are certain vitamins and minerals you should know more about.
Why is Nutrition Important?
What you eat and drink does even more for your health than fuel your workouts and bolster your immune system. The dozens of systems within your body depend don’t just depend on macronutrients like calories and protein in order to function properly. They also rely on micronutrients — especially vitamins and minerals.
When it comes to recovering from injuries, as well as preventing new ones, some micronutrients are especially important.
- For Joint Relief. To ease swelling and to gain more flexibility, focus on vitamins A and C. Additional supplements with anti-inflammatory properties include fish oil, evening primrose, bromelain, and turmeric.
- For Muscle Health. Nutrients that help speed tissue repair are the ones to focus on when it comes to muscle support. Whether you’re looking for recovery after a workout, or have ongoing muscle pain, supplements, concentrate on and foods that contain calcium, magnesium, vitamin A and vitamin C.
The common denominator in both categories is Vitamin C. But even if you’re on a tight budget, you rarely have to choose. You’ll find good multivitamin choices that combine many of these key vitamins and minerals for joint and muscle health.
If possible, take additional supplements of turmeric, bromelain, fish oil, and/or evening primrose. Of course, it’s important to check with your doctor before adding supplements.
The Diet Connection
Supplements can certainly help protect muscles and joints. But diet should be your primary focus for gaining these nutrients. Foods that are high in calcium and magnesium, along with vitamins A, C, and E, work together to reduce inflammation and to promote tissue repair.
In general, a Mediterranean-style diet — one that is low in saturated fat, but high in fruits and vegetables, seafood, nuts, and seeds — will provide the foods that you need for joint and muscle health.
Specifically, make sure to include leafy greens, orange and yellow vegetables, and citrus fruits and juices. Nuts, seeds, and tofu are not only good meat substitutes but provide calcium and magnesium.
Make sure to have fatty fish at least three times a week. This seafood type provides the Omega-3 fatty acids which help fight inflammation. Good choices are salmon, tuna, mackerel, and sardines.
Finally, include plenty of anti-inflammatory seasoning in your cooking. For savory foods, spice things up with tumeric, ginger, cayenne, black pepper and garlic. Sweeten your oatmeal or low-fat desserts with cinnamon, clove — and more ginger!
Should You be Tested for Micronutrient Deficiency?
Are you eating a balanced diet aimed at good overall health — but still feeling fatigued and achy? The problem might be a deficiency in certain vitamins and minerals. The team at BackFit can discuss testing you for these micronutrients to determine any nutritional gaps.
Whether your body is having difficulty absorbing certain nutrients, or your eating habits leaves something to be desired, a micronutrient deficiency test can uncover any health gaps.