If you have stiff, achy joints you’re not alone. More than 80% of people over the age of 50 have joint issues. If you have joint pain, you know how debilitating it can be. It can make climbing a flight of stairs, opening a jar, or even a simple walk to the mailbox a painful ordeal. Fortunately, there are a lot of natural things you can do to promote healthy, pain-free joints.
1. Shed Excess Weight: Carrying extra weight is not only detrimental to your overall health, it puts stress on your joints. In fact, having just 10 pounds of excess weight puts 30-60 pounds of extra force on your knees when you’re walking. Losing excess weight can significantly reduce joint stress and pain—and even shedding just 10 pounds can make a difference.
2. Drink Plenty of Pure, Clean Water: Joints are enclosed capsules filled with synovial fluid that reduces friction and allows your joints to move with ease. To produce synovial fluid, your joints need to be well-hydrated, so you want to drink 6-8 glasses of water daily.
3. Reach for Foods Rich in Omega-3s: You’ve probably heard that omega-3 fatty acids are good for your brain and your heart, but did you know they’re also important for your joints? Omega-3s help to suppress the enzymes and cytokines that can lead to inflammation and joint pain. Good food sources of omega-3s include salmon, sardines, walnuts, and chia seeds.
4. Eat Antioxidant-Rich Fruits and Vegetables: Antioxidant-rich vegetables and fruits help to reduce inflammation and fight harmful free radicals that can affect your joints. Some good choices include apples, blackberries, cherries, strawberries, onions, Brussels sprouts, and carrots.
5. Apply Heat: While cold packs are best right after an injury to keep swelling down, heat is best for long-term joint pain. That’s because heat promotes blood flow to the injured joint, promoting healing and soothing your pain. For painful joints, you want to apply a warm (not hot) heating pad for 10-20 minutes several times a day.
6. Strengthen Your Joints with Exercise: While it’s true that you wouldn’t want to do high-impact exercises, like running, which can stress your knees—it’s important to get regular physical activity. That’s because exercise helps to strengthen the muscles that support your joints. Good low-impact exercises include swimming, walking, water aerobics, and yoga.
7. Take Joint-Supporting Nutrients: One of the most powerful nutrients that can provide joint support and comfort is Boswellia serrata—an extract from the Indian frankincense tree—which relieves joint discomfort by helping to turn off the cytokines and mediators that can cause joint discomfort.
Other potent nutrients for joint relief and support include hyaluronic acid, turmeric, and undenatured type II collagen. But it’s important to take these nutrients in the right clinically-studied forms and amounts. One of the best sources we’ve found is the doctor-formulated Instaflex joint formula.