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You probably know all about keeping your bones healthy. You might be making sure to get enough Vitamin D and calcium, and to make sure you’re getting enough exercise. But did you know there’s more to your bones than just bone?

Most of the focus on bone health and density is to keep bone diseases like osteoporosis at bay, but there are many other issues than can slow us down and make everyday activities difficult and painful as we get older. To keep a spring in your step and make sure your body stays youthful and strong, you also have to take care of what’s between your bones.

We’re talking about cartilage, of course. This is the soft, bendable stuff that makes up your nose and ears, as well as your rib cage and bronchial tubes. But it also appears at the ends of bones and aids in smooth and comfortable movement. When it gets damaged or eroded, you get stiffness and aches associated with arthritis.

Luckily, there are a lot of simple things you can do to keep your cartilage strong and healthy, and even help your body make more of it! Because cartilage and bone are so closely intertwined, many of these practices will also help with bone health, too. Think of it as a bonus!

Read on to discover how to keep your body moving easily and pain-free!

Thumbnail Photos: Flickr, Wikimedia Commons

What Does Cartilage Do?

What

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Besides giving shape to your ears and nose, cartilage also acts as a pad or cushion at the ends of bones where they connect in joints. The cartilage allows your joints to move smoothly and easily.

However, over time and with strenuous activity, this cartilage can become damaged and wear away, resulting in arthritis, which is characterized by aches, stiffness, and swelling. Pain relievers and supplements are usually used to treat this disorder, as is surgery in extreme cases.

Cartilage wears down as we age, but that doesn’t mean we can’t keep it healthy and even encourage new cartilage development. And it’s easy to do!

Cartilage Tip #1: Avoid Inflammatory Foods

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Arthritis and joint pain are all about inflammation, which can come from what you eat as well as from overexertion.

That’s why it’s best to adopt an anti-inflammatory diet, which means eating more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean meat, and fish, as well as healthy fats like from olive oil and avocado. A great food to choose? Apples, thanks to a chemical called quercetin that promotes collagen production. There are high concentrations in the apple’s skin, so don’t peel them!

Make sure you’re also drinking plenty of water. Your joints require lubrication to move and water provides just that.

Cartilage Tip #2: Get Plenty Of Vitamins C And D

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Cartilage is mostly made of collagen, a protein found throughout your body. To make it, your body needs Vitamin C, which you can get from citrus fruits, berries, and kiwi fruit, as well as from leafy greens and broccoli.

To maintain and preserve your body’s cartilage, you’ll need some Vitamin D, too. You can find this in fatty fish like salmon, dairy, and eggs, or by spending some time in the sun.

Cartilage Tip #3: Eat Some Jell-O

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We often think of gelatin as just a dessert, but it’s actually incredibly good for you. Gelatin, which is made from cooked collagen, is actually the exact same stuff your body uses to create more collagen and cartilage.

As a bonus, the collagen in gelatin will also boost the health of your hair, nails, and skin, and is also full of protein, but had no fat or cholesterol.

Cartilage Tip #4: Sip Some Bone Broth

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Broth and stock made from animal bones is a great way to get extra calcium into your body, as the mineral is pulled from the bones during the cooking process.

To really get all the calcium, add a spoonful of apple cider vinegar to the broth while it’s cooking. The acid in the vinegar will break down the bones further, and pull more calcium and minerals from them into the soup. And that means more will get into your body when you eat it!

Cartilage Tip #5: Take Some Glucosamine

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Glucosamineis an animo sugar that is said to promote joint comfort and ease of motion, and is available as a supplement.

If you’re interested in taking glucosamine, talk to your doctor first to make sure it’s the right choice for you. As it’s a sugar, taking too much of it can increase risk of diabetes. Do not exceed 1500 milligrams per day, and look for glucosamine sulfate for best results.

Cartilage Tip #6: Add Sulfur To Your Diet

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It might sound counterintuitive, but sulfur is a great mineral for keeping inflammation at bay, which plays a role in cartilage damage. Sulfur can be found in onions and garlic, as well as leeks and scallions. It’s easy to add these vegetables to dishes for a boost of both flavor and nutrients.

As a bonus, onions and garlic are also great for regulating sodium levels in the blood.

Cartilage Tip #7: Keep Moving

Cartilage

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Exercise is the best way to keep your cartilage (and your bones, and your muscles, and your whole body) in good, working shape.

While overexertion can cause damage to cartilage, a steady, reasonable amount of exercise will keep your body in shape and increase your strength and stamina. It will also help with bone density, which will prevent osteoporosis later in life.

Cartilage Tip #8: Try Working Out In Water

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If exercising on land is difficult or painful for you, try working out in water. Your body’s natural buoyancy will make moving easier, and you’ll feel more flexible. It’s a great way to slowly and gently build up strength without the impacts that can cause pain on land.

Are you doing what you need to make sure your cartilage stays healthy and strong? Or have you maybe forgotten about it a little bit. Either way, it’s never to late to pick up some new, healthy habits, and be sure toSHAREthese tips with everyone you know!

Read more: http://www.littlethings.com/cartilage-health-tips/