Whether you have a long-term medical condition or short-term pain in your joints, one goal is better mobility. Joint mobility is the degree in which two bones meet and move before becoming restricted by surrounding elements like tendons, ligaments and muscles. In medical terms, this is called articulation. Joint stability is the ability of joints to move or remain in position.
Range of motion exercises and using a cane are great ways to improve mobility. Another way to help improve mobility is to incorporate super foods into your diet. Super foods are foods that are considered “super” because of their health benefits. For example, some super foods like lean protein promote a healthy heart.
Super Foods for Better Mobility
Joints tend to weaken over time because of a variety of factors such as aging, poor nutrition, medical conditions and inherited diseases. Omega-3 fatty acids play a major role in giving the body the essential nutrients joints need and assisting in reducing pain and swelling. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in cold-water fish like mackerel and salmon. It’s best to have the fish baked or broiled twice a week. Other super foods to assist with joint health include:
- Orange juice: It’s rich in vitamin C which makes the cartilage in the body stronger.
- Peanut butter: This super food contains a form of vitamin B3 called niacinamide. Niacinamide reduces joint inflammation and improves joint mobility.
- Whole grain breads and cereals: These foods make your body more flexible and assist in relieving morning stiffness.
- Pineapple: This fruit is super rich in the natural ingredient bromelain which reduces inflammation.
- Blueberries: This fruit is high in antioxidants which boost the immune system and decrease joint inflammation.
Super Foods for Strong Bones
Strong bones are vital to maintaining and improving mobility. Some of the super foods such as orange juice, salmon and blueberries help improve joints and bones. Other super foods that help with bone health include:
- Greens: Dark leafy greens are high in calcium. Whether it’s the traditional soul food favorites like turnip and collard greens or bok choy or Chinese cabbage, you can’t go wrong.
- Seeds and nuts: Nuts and seeds are excellent for bone health. Flaxseed and walnuts are filled with omega-3 fatty acids. Almonds and peanuts have potassium which protects against calcium loss in urine. Nuts also build strong bones.
- Sardines: Eating three ounces of canned sardines actually gives you more calcium than drinking a cup of milk.
- Figs: When most people think about figs, it’s the popular cookie bar. Actually the figs—minus the cookie—are high in potassium and magnesium which help with bone health. When eating them dried or fresh, they are naturally sweet and delicious.
- Instant oatmeal: Instant oatmeal is packed with iron, calcium and B-complex vitamins which all aid in bone health.
Super Foods, Healthy Eating and Exercise
According to an American Heart Association article, a lot of people have unrealistic expectations about super foods. What is the unrealistic expectation? They can eat two or three of the super foods and continue their poor dieting habits like eating junk food. Eating too much of the unhealthy foods will prevent the super foods from being beneficial to joint and bone health and ultimately increased mobility.
To get the healthy benefits of eating super foods, try to limit the junk food. Also, other recommendations for improving motion are to:
- Decrease salt, or sodium, intake. The more sodium in the body, the more calcium the body loses.
- Swap out the soft drinks for something healthier. Soft drinks are carbonated and reduce calcium absorption.
- Engage in regular range-of-motion and weight-bearing exercises.
- Continue using your cane for mobility.
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