Advice Column, Health

Treat your Aching Joints

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Joint pain is more common than you may realise. From a dull ache to a stabbing pain, it’s a condition that affects almost everyone at some stage and generally gets worse as we age. 

Catherine Clark, the Owner and Founder of The Harvest Table, says that athletes are often the people who experience the worst joint pain. “Most adrenaline junkies accept a level of joint discomfort as they believe it’s a result of strenuous exercise. In truth though, if athletes get the right nutrition their joint pain may be alleviated,” says Catherine. 

Joint pain can affect any part of your body, from your ankles and feet through to your knees, hips, shoulders and hands. It’s usually caused by inflammation, the body’s normal immune response to an injury or infection that results in painful swelling around the joint.

“Whether you exercise or not, the great news is that it’s easy to manage painful joints with some small changes to your lifestyle,” says Catherine. 

Catherine’s top tips to reduce joint pain are:

1. Stop eating gluten

Studies have shown that people who are gluten sensitive can have an inflammatory reaction to the proteins found in wheat, which causes their immune systems to jump into action. The resultant inflammation affects the body’s organs and soft tissue which leads to intermittent joint pain. If you think that you may be gluten sensitive, try cutting out all wheat products for two weeks and see if this reduces your joint pain (and other symptoms such as bloating). There should be a massive difference within just a couple of days and you’ll never look back. 

2. Eat more inflammation fighting foods

We all have levels of inflammation in our bodies but when it gets out of hand, it can impact your health. Your body will send you signals when this happens and one of the most common is aching joints. Fortunately, you’ve already got most of the best inflammation-busting basics in your refrigerator and if you eat an overall healthy diet that’s high in fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, fish and healthy oils – all of which have natural antioxidants – this will help reduce levels of inflammation and leave you feeling better in no time. 

3. Introduce Bone Broth

Bone broth is a meeting of ancient wisdom and modern nutrition. Made from slow-cooked beef bones, it’s low in calories but rich in the amino acids and essential minerals our bodies and bones need to stay strong and healthy. Bone broth is readily available in a powder form that delivers a whopping nine grams of protein per teaspoon. It also tastes very mild, so you can add it to anything, from smoothies to stews, to ensure your whole family gets the nutrition they need. But the proof, especially for athletes, is in performance and according to Anton Cater it’s made a world of difference, an ultramarathon athlete who used to suffer from joint pain. He discovered bone broth in 2020 and upon completing a recent 100km race, he said he hadn’t experienced any muscle or joint pain! Anton attributes this to his daily afternoon bone broth snack, saying that it’s now a staple in their household that the whole family loves.

4. Manage your weight

Joints in your body’s lower half, particularly your knees and hips, bear most of your weight and if you are you are carrying a couple of extra kilograms, this can contribute to achy, swollen and stiff joints. The more weight on your joints, the more wear and tear on the cartilage. So, protect your hips and knees in the long-term by lightening your load. 

5. Exercise

Another way to reduce joint pain is through regular exercise. Light strength training can fortify the muscles around joints, providing better support. Your muscles act as shock absorbers so if you can get them toned, you may have less pain. Start with swimming or water aerobics as this is a great way to exercise. The water provides resistance and you’ll activate muscles without burdening your joints. And it’s great fun too!

When you are used to living with sore joints, being pain free can be life changing. If you follow these lifestyle changes though and still have no relief, Catherine advises that you consult a medical professional as there are many other, more serious conditions that can cause joint pain.

Harvest Table has a wide range of collagen products that are available from Catherine on Instagram: @whole_healthy_me.

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