Taking care of your bones & joints is an important part of living a healthy lifestyle. Find out how to help keep them in tip-top condition
As we get older, our bones and joints can become more fragile. One of the best ways to look after them is by keeping active and doing regular exercise. It’s equally important to eat a varied and balanced diet with all the essential vitamins and nutrients you need to help stay fit and healthy.
Which vitamins & minerals help to keep our bones healthy?
When it comes to supporting bone health, the following vitamins and minerals are ones to know about:
Calcium helps support healthy bones, teeth and muscle function. Most of us get all the calcium we need through our diet and the main sources include:
• Dairy products
• Soy milk or soy-based products
• Green leafy vegetables
• Fish with edible bones such as sardines
• Fortified foods and drinks
This important vitamin helps our bodies absorb calcium which both support healthy bones and muscles. In spring and early summer, most of us get enough vitamin D from the action of sunlight on our skin. However, the government recommends adults take a daily supplement of 10 micrograms of vitamin D during autumn and winter when sunlight levels are lower.
It’s also a good idea to incorporate some of the following vitamin D-rich foods into your diet:
• Red meat
• Liver (not suitable for pregnant women)
• Egg yolks
• Fortified cereals and nut or rice milks
• Oily fish
Which vitamins & minerals help to keep our joints healthy?
In addition to calcium and vitamin D, which both support muscles as well as bones, you should take care to include vitamin C-rich foods as part of your diet.
This vital vitamin supports the production of collagen in the body, which in turn helps keep cartilage and connective tissue in the joints healthy. Vitamin C can be found in:
• Oranges and orange juice
• Green and red peppers
• Leafy greens
We also have a number of supplements designed to support bone and joint health*. Here are some of our favourites:
Are there other ways to help protect bones & joints?
• It’s advised to maintain a healthy weight, as excess weight can put extra strain on hips, knees and ankles, which could lead to osteoarthritis
• Staying active and doing regular exercise helps keep joints supple and bones strong, whilst also helping to maintain a healthy weight
• Remember to wear appropriate footwear during exercise. Always wear running shoes when running, as they absorb shock and protect your weight-bearing joints. If walking long distances, wear walking boots which help to support the ankles
What can go wrong with bones
As we get older our bones become less dense. Some people lose more bone density than is normal, which can lead to osteoporosis, carrying a greater risk of fractures.
People who are prone to osteoporosis include:
• Post-menopausal women
• Long-term users of steroids
• Those who drink and smoke heavily
A lack of vitamin D can lead to soft, weak and deformed bones in children (rickets) and soft bones and bone pain in adults (osteomalacia). These conditions are becoming more common because of vitamin D deficiencies brought on by poor diet and/or insufficient sunlight.
If you're worried about your bone health, visit your GP.
What can go wrong with joints
Joint pain can be caused by the wear-and-tear condition called osteoarthritis, which can cause pain, stiffness and swelling. If you're experiencing persistent joint pain or you're worried about your joints, visit your GP.
• Eat a varied and balanced diet, and consider a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D during September to March
• Stay active and maintain a healthy weight
• Visit your GP if you’re experiencing bone or joint pain
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*Supplements should not be used as a replacement for a varied and balanced diet. Consult a GP or medical professional before taking supplements if you are pregnant, have a medical condition or are taking other medication. Refer to the product information before taking a supplement.