Most people take joints for granted when they’re young, but their importance becomes much clearer as we age. You start to feel pain and stiffness in your joints as you age. People can feel like they’re an old car that needs warming up in the morning before they get moving.
One of the main problems with joints is that the surrounding cartilage deteriorates over time. In your later years, your cartilage is weaker, and there is less of it. Cartilage breakdown results from millions of steps, hours spent running, and lower collagen and other compounds in the body.
Keeping the cartilage you have healthier and promoting faster growth of new cartilage are key to healthy joints. When your joints are in good condition, there is less chance of injury. As a result, you’ll feel better in your older years and live a more active lifestyle for longer.
Here are some tips on how to keep your cartilage healthy to facilitate joint function.
Lose the Extra Weight
Exercise and staying in a healthy weight range are essential for people who want to protect their cartilage. However, when you are overweight, you’re putting extra strain on your joints and the cartilage around them. All of that pressure and extra impact take a toll. It takes time for cartilage to grow, and obese people typically have more difficulty building back torn cartilage, tendons, and ligaments.
Losing weight has a host of mental and physical health benefits. Among them are better cartilage levels and joint function. You’ll put less impact on your joints, keeping your cartilage in good condition.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Eating a healthy diet is great because it will help you lose weight. In addition, certain foods are known to build cartilage and promote cartilage strength. Some of these foods include legumes, brown rice, nuts, fruits, and meat.
Avoid sugars and refined carbohydrates. Instead, focus on eating foods that are good for your joints and will stop your cartilage from shrinking or becoming brittle as you age.
Keep Inflammation in Check
Chronic inflammation is terrible for your joints and surrounding cartilage. If you want to keep your cartilage healthier, avoid foods, activities, and environments that trigger inflammation in your body.
Inflammation is one of your body’s natural responses to stress. For example, when you sprain your ankle, the body’s immune system sends resources to the hurt area, swelling it to limit the range of motion and heal any damage to bones, ligaments, blood vessels, etc.
However, your body also can experience chronic inflammation due to smoking, a poor diet, certain health conditions, stress, and other factors. For example, having a stressful job, lack of sleep, or toxic relationships can elevate inflammation in the body, leading to weaker cartilage and stiff joints.
Do what you can to limit stressful environments and address inflammation to avoid long-term cartilage issues.
Load & Unload Activities
Constant stress on your joints and cartilage is bad for them. However, underuse is also very bad for your joints in the long run. The best solution is regular activities that put temporary loads on your joints. Activities like running, walking, cycling, and swimming are excellent for cartilage health.
When people get older, things like running, jumping, and other higher-impact exercise becomes harder. Lower cartilage levels mean longer recovery times and joint pain. At some point, people must shift to low-impact workouts in the pool or walking to keep moving without the negative side effects.
Staying active is always a fantastic idea regarding joint health. However, the bottom line is that people should keep moving for as long as possible if they want to protect their joint function.
Peptides & Joint Health
Peptides are short chains of amino acids. They’re similar to proteins, but peptides are any amino acid chain with fewer than 50 amino acids in them. For example, Glutathione is a peptide that was discovered more than 100 years ago in animal tissues. Also known as GSH, glutathione is found naturally in the body and is a powerful antioxidant.
In animal studies, glutathione reduced inflammation by eliminating free radicals to prevent oxidative stress in the body. This typically prevents cell damage and helps subjects avoid many health issues. In addition, this can help delay the deterioration of the cartilage in animals and promote new cartilage growth.
Cartilage takes years to grow and is difficult to repair when damaged. However, focusing on a healthy lifestyle and diet can keep your cartilage strong and reduce chronic inflammation that can lead to joint issues now and later in life.