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Three good habits for joint health

When we think of habits, we usually think of bad ones we need to break. But a habit in and of itself is not a “bad” habit! There are “good” habits to have as well, and here are three habits that are good for your joint health. If they aren’t part of your lifestyle, I encourage you to make them so!

ACE Your Eating Habits

Aim for a diet high in Vitamins A, C, and E. Choices include yellow-orange fruits and vegetables such as carrots, apricots, cantaloupe, peaches, and dark leafy greens for the A; grapefruit, oranges, papaya, mangoes, raspberries, pineapples, asparagus, red peppers, and broccoli for the C; avocados, whole-grain breads and cereals, sunflower seeds, and peanut butter for the E.

Vitamin A helps form and maintain your skeletal and soft tissue, among other things. Vitamin A comes from two sources. One group comes from animal sources and is called retinoids, which includes retinol. The other group comes from plants and is called carotenoids, which includes beta-carotene. The body converts beta-carotene to vitamin A.

Vitamin C is an essential vitamin that your body does not manufacture, it can only be obtained from food. Vitamin C is not only a powerful antioxidant that removes harmful free radicals from the body, but is also important for the structural integrity of bones, ligaments, tendons, and blood vessels.

Vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects body tissue from damage caused by substances called free radicals. Free radicals can harm cells, tissues, and organs. They are believed to play a role in certain conditions related to aging.

Build Muscle to Support Your Joints

Strong muscles support your joints. If you don’t have enough muscle, your joints take a pounding, especially those in your knees, which must support your entire body weight. Weight training exercises help build muscle and keep existing muscle and surrounding ligaments strong. That way, your joints don’t have to do all the work. Talk to me before starting a weightlifting regimen. You don’t want to strain the joint that you’re trying to strengthen.

Get Up and Get Moving

Being overweight is without a doubt a huge contributing factor to joint pain and the development of osteoarthritis. Just 10 extra pounds on your body exerts as much as 50 extra pounds of force on your knees. Exercise will not only help you with weight loss, but just the act of moving your joints helps to keep them healthy. Tied to a desk all day? Consider taking your phone calls standing up — the person at the other end of the line won’t know! Regular low-impact aerobic exercise, like swimming and bike riding, can actually reduce joint swelling.

For more information on this subject, call The Zehr Center for Orthopaedics at 239-596-0100 or visit www.zehrcenter.comThe information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments, or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of a visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read on this topic. 

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