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Nutrition for Bones, Muscles and Joints

Nutrition for Bones, Muscles and Joints

Choosing a balanced diet containing the right vitamins and minerals decreases our chances of developing deficiencies later on in life. The body’s structure relies on vitamins and minerals to ensure muscle tone (including the heart), healthy functioning of nerves; correct composition of body fluids; and the formation of healthy blood and bones.

A Healthy Diet Plan

Calcium

For bone, muscle and joint health try and include Calcium in your diet, which is essential for optimal nerve and muscle function and blood clotting.

Obtained from

Dairy products are rich in calcium that is easy to absorb. Non – dairy sources with equally absorbable calcium are green leafy vegetables from the kale family. Spinach, rhubarb, sweet potatoes and dried beans are rich in calcium but from these foods it’s not easily absorbed

Magnesium 

Required for efficient muscle contraction and conduction of nerve impulses. Low magnesium levels in the body can affect the body’s calcium levels, putting bone health at risk.

Obtained from 

Green leafy vegetables, unrefined grains and nuts. Small amounts are present in meat and milk. Large quantities of fibre in the diet and low protein intake can reduce the amount of magnesium able to be absorbed by the body.

Vitamin D 

Essential for regulating the formation of bone and the absorption of calcium from the intestine. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that functions to help control the movement of calcium between bone and blood.

Obtained from 

Primarily from the action of UVB light on the skin. Food sources such as cod liver oil, sardines, salmon, tuna, milk and milk products contain small amounts of Vitamin D.

Vitamin C 

The structure of bones, cartilage, muscles and blood vessels is provided in part and maintained by collagen. The formation of strong efficient collagen requires Vitamin C.

Obtained from

Citrus fruits, berries, tomatoes, cauliflower, potatoes, green leafy vegetable and peppers. Also important for producing strong collagen and therefore strong bone structure, is Folic acid. Folic acid is found in cereals, beans, green leafy vegetables, orange and orange juice

Antioxidants 

Vitamin C is also a strong antioxidant and is capable of regenerating other antioxidants like vitamin E. The role of antioxidants is to mop up free radicals (the by-products of normal metabolism). Excessive amounts of free radicals cause damage to joint surfaces and muscle cell regeneration. Antioxidants reduce the potential of these free radicals to cause joint damage.

Obtained from

Antioxidants are vitamins A, C, E and the mineral selenium and are present in fruits and vegetables, the highest quantities are found in the most deeply and brightly coloured. Cartilage that lines the articulating surfaces of all joints is critical to joint health. Cartilage is the shock absorber of joints and is continually rebuilt if a source of raw materials is available. Supplements such as glucosamine sulphate can be added to a healthy diet to assist joints that maybe showing signs of wear and tear.

Essential fatty acids 

Essential fatty acids (EFA’s) also reduce the degenerative changes in tissues and cells. EFA’s are unsaturated fatty acids such as Omega 3. They aid in decreasing the inflammatory response and help relieve pain and discomfort in joints and muscles.

Obtained from

EFA’s can be found in oily fish (sardines, fresh tuna, mackerel), flax seed and linseed.

Foods to avoid…

There are certain foods and substances that adversely effect the body’s use of minerals and vitamins. High saturated/animal fats, refined foods, white flour, white sugar, white rice, chocolate, carbonated drinks and fruit juices with high sugar concentration should be kept to a minimum if not weaned from the diet completely. Meat and dairy products should be kept within a recommended weekly amount. Dairy products such as calcium sources should be varied with other non-dairy sources.

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Fatigue – A Modern Epidemic?

Fatigue – A Modern Epidemic?

Fatigue is one of two main ways the body warns you about a problem. The other warning is pain. Most of us pay attention to pain, and stop whatever is causing it. We don’t pay as much attention to fatigue. One reason might be that fatigue sneaks up on us.

What Is Fatigue?

Fatigue is tiredness that does not go away when you rest. It can be physical or psychological. With physical fatigue, your muscles cannot do things as easily as they normally do. You might notice this when you climb stairs or carry bags of groceries.

With psychological fatigue, it may be difficult to concentrate for as long as you did before. In severe cases, you might not feel like getting out of bed in the morning and doing your regular daily activities. Fatigue is twice as common in women as in men but is not strongly associated with age or occupation.

There are certain things that exacerbate fatigue, including a range of lifestyle, occupational and psychological factors.

Lifestyle-related factors
Common lifestyle choices that can cause fatigue include:

  • Lack of sleep – adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night.
  • Too much sleep – sleeping more than 11 hours per day can lead to excessive daytime sleepiness.
  • Alcohol and drugs – alcohol is a depressant drug that slows the nervous system and disturbs normal sleep patterns. Other drugs, such as cigarettes, stimulate the nervous system and make insomnia more likely.
  • Sleep disturbances – disturbed sleep may occur for a number of reasons, for example, young children who wake in the night, a snoring partner, or an uncomfortable bed.
  • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour – physical activity is known to improve fitness, health and wellbeing, reduce stress, and boost energy levels. It also helps you sleep. Regular exercise is also an effective treatment for anxiety and depression, however any exercise regime should be supervised by a qualified health practitioner for those with depression or chronic fatigue syndrome.
  • Too much exercise – Those who work hard and regularly exercise hard may be trying to do too much. Your body also needs time to recover.
  • Poor diet – low calorie diets, or extreme diets that reduce intake of a particular macronutrient such as carbohydrates may mean that the body does not have enough fuel. Quick fix ‘pick me ups’, such as chocolate bars or caffeinated drinks, only offer a temporary energy boost that quickly wears off and worsens fatigue in the longer term.

Workplace-related factors
Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

  • Shift work – the human body is designed to sleep during the night. This pattern is set by a small part of the brain known as the circadian clock. A shift worker confuses their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
  • Workplace stress – can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, constant change, or threats to job security.

Psychological factors

Studies suggest that at least 50 per cent of fatigue cases are caused by psychological factors. These may include:

  • Depression – this illness is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic tiredness.
  • Anxiety and stress – a person who is chronically anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
  • Grief – losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

Always see a medical practitioner or GP to make sure that your fatigue isn’t caused by an underlying medical problem. Your chiropractor can often help by making sure that your muscles, joints and bones are all working together as they should; minor misalignments can cause your body to lock up trying to protect itself. Improving your diet, sleeping patterns and exercise regime will also provide real benefits in the long run.

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Summer Time Sports

Summer Time Sports

Summer time has arrived and with it the added need for us to take extra care of our necks, backs and spines to avoid pain and injury…

If the arrival of sunshine has caused you to pack away your winter jumpers and, instead, pull out your racket, shin pads or helmet for a bout of summer activities, remember to take note of these simple steps to ensure you steer clear of any unwanted pain and discomfort.

RUNNERS can avoid injury by regular stretching of the tendons and wearing good shoes with shock-absorbing features.

RACKET-SPORTS PLAYERS should be wary of playing through the pain of Tennis Elbow. Tennis Elbow is in fact an overuse injury, caused by repetitive movements at the wrist forcing the thumb outwards and the palm upwards. Continuing to play will only exacerbate the problem.

GOLFERS are particularly prone to lower back injuries. Graphite clubs and soft spiked shoes will help absorb the shock which can bring on back injury. Your chiropactor can suggest appropriate warm-ups and exercises, and help you work on an alternative swing.

GARDENERS commonly suffer from aches and pains, but they can avoid lower back trouble by kneeling on one leg rather than bending from the hips, keeping the back hollow whilst digging, and varying tasks throughout the day to avoid repetition injury.

DIY, like gardening, is often far-removed from everyday activities. When the sun is shining many will want to get out in the garden and get on with the long list of DIY jobs that have piled up over the winter months. Enthusiasts often injure their back by inhabitual exertion, so when lifting, take the weight on bent legs, keeping the back straight.

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