Build A Strong Frame
Our bodies are the homes we live in throughout our lives. Houses built on strong frames can withstand a great deal – the same is true for our bodies. Having a healthy frame, or skeleton, enables us to enjoy all the activities that add so much to the quality of our lives.Engaging in those activities subjects our bones and joints to wear-and-tear that may result in conditions like arthritis and brittle bones for some but generally results in some degree of inflammation for us all.To preserve the health of bones and joints, we need to make sure our bodies have what they need to build a strong frame and to minimize the damaging effects of long-term inflammation.
The Right Building Materials
Our bodies continually build and repair bones and their supporting connective tissues from minerals and special proteins.Minerals compete for absorption during digestion. Too much of one mineral can result in a deficiency of another through a process known as “competitive inhibition”. For this reason, it is advisable to eat a broad range of foods to ensure that no inadvertent deficiencies are created.We all know that calcium is the major mineral our bones need. Healthy adults require about 1000 – 1200 mg/day. Important dietary sources of calcium include yogurt, sesame seeds and spinach.
Magnesium works as calcium’s partner. In fact, every major biological process in our bodies requires the presence of magnesium. To make sure you’re getting enough, eat more pumpkin seeds, spinach and salmon.
Vitamin D regulates absorption of dietary calcium and the release/reuptake of calcium in bones, among its many activities. The best sources of Vitamin D include salmon, sardines, shrimp, milk, cod, and eggs.
Zinc is important for bone health as a cofactor of Vitamin D – get your zinc from such sources as meats, yogurt, sesame seeds and green peas.
Collagen is a protein that is a building block for bone and connective tissues. We ingest it in our diets in the form of cartilage and gelatine.
Don’t Forget The Security System
The “bad guys” that induce rampaging inflammation include groups of molecules referred to as oxidants, pro-oxidants or reactive oxygen species (ROS). Anti-oxidants are the “good guys” of the inflammation story because they work to eliminate the bad guys and to counter the damage done. They serve a protective function for our bones and joints not unlike the way a security system helps to protect our dwellings.
Fortunately, there are many anti-oxidant good guys and fruits and vegetables are terrific sources of these. Citrus fruits are great sources of antioxidants called bioflavonoids, or simply flavonoids.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that has been shown to reduce joint inflammation and promote cartilage healing. Some of the best sources of Vitamin C are cantaloupes and red peppers.
Did you know that Vitamin E and Vitamin C work together? Vitamin E is found in many, many foods but some of the richest sources include sunflower seeds, almonds, olives and papayas.
Other Tips For A Healthy Frame
Mom Was Right – Posture Matters
How you are stand, sit and move can be contributing factors in the development of repetitive strain injuries and osteoarthritis.
Ergonomics is the science of designing equipment and work environments to prevent fatigue, discomfort and injury. If you sit for long periods at work, you may benefit from an ergonomic assessment of your workspace. The height and placement of your computer keyboard can have an impact on the development of carpal tunnel syndrome, for example.
If you stand for long periods, you may benefit from resting one foot on a low stool from time to time. This gives your knees a break and can help you to adopt better spinal posture.
On The Move
Anytime you are in motion, pay attention to how you are moving to ensure you are not putting your joints at risk. Is that load that is too heavy? Are you using your legs as well as your back when you lift? Are you using the appropriate assistive devices in the right way? What’s your “form” like when you play sports?
The resistance provided by load-bearing activities helps to build a strong frame by contributing to the development of higher bone density. Regular gentle exercise builds strength in the muscles that support our joints and helps to circulate protective joint (synovial) fluid.
What Aren’t You Doing?