Joint pain is common to athletes due to frequent training and exercises at high volumes, which are inevitable for athletes. Managing joint pains is one of the top issues among athletes and individuals who go through stress and consume many pro-inflammatory foods.
Whether you do sport as an enthusiast or for recreational purposes, you need to take sports nutrition seriously. What you eat has a massive impact on the overall health of your joints and your muscles. This is why it is essential to be consistent with professional sport nutrition guides to improve your joints’ health.
Often, when you notice pains in your joints, it can mean that there’s chronic inflammation in your body. In some other cases, it might be some of the adverse effects of those unhealthy foods you eat either before or after training.
Meanwhile, as an athlete, your joints play vital roles in your overall athletic performance. Should any of them become weak and faulty, you are out of the competition.
In this article, you will learn about the best foods you can eat to make your joints healthy and the worst foods that can damage your joints in no time.
To start with, let’s go through some foods and supplements you can eat before, during, and after training that can strengthen and joints and improve your athletic performance.
Foods and supplements that help improve your joints’ health.
Fresh fruits and veggies are good sources of ascorbic acids, also known as vitamin C. Vitamins are essential in collagen production, which is more dominant in your body. This vitamin also helps in building tendons and ligaments, which are useful elements of joint health. While taking an adequate amount of vitamin C is useful for your joints’ health, sport nutrition experts proved that vitamin C could heal your soft tissues. Another research in sports nutrition proved that vitamin C in the body could help reduce oxidative stress helping individuals suffering from joint-related injuries recover quickly.
Good vitamin C sources include oranges, bell peppers, kiwi, strawberries, broccoli, and papaya. Besides these vitamin C rich foods, research has proven that taking vegetables can help your joints due to their anti-inflammatory, phytochemical components.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega 3 fatty acids are essential nutrients when it comes to maintaining the health of your joints. Several professional sports nutritionists have linked Omega 3 fatty acids with numerous benefits, including proper brain functioning, improved cardiovascular health, reduced inflammation, and more. Whichever sports nutrition study you look through, you will discover how much Omega 3 fatty acids can improve your joints’ health and performance.
Excellent sources of omega 3 fatty acids include salmon, mackerel, walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseeds. Eating 4 ounces of any cold-water fish twice per week will supply your body with an adequate amount of this nutrient.
However, many sport nutrition experts have unveiled that most athletes don’t eat food that can supply their body with enough omega 3s. In case you find it challenging to find foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids, you can try some supplements to increase its presence in the body.
Tart Cherry Juice
Tart cherry juice and Bing cherries are useful for maintaining your joints’ health because of their high polyphenol, anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory contents. Sports nutritionists most recommend that athletes should take much tart cherry because it helps reduce muscle soreness. Another sports nutrition research showed that tart cherries could help decrease joint pain, which most athletes develop after a long time of continuous intense training and competition.
Eating about 8 oz of tart twice a day can give you the adequate amount you need for your daily meal.
Collagen is another essential nutrient that helps structure athletes’ tendons and ligaments. As a sports nutrition expert, I’d recommend that you find collagen supplements to increase your joints’ effectiveness. Collagen supplements help improve joint health and decrease your chance of developing osteoarthritis.
Meanwhile, you can get collagen through natural means by eating food with a high concentration of nutrients. Natural sources of collagen include eggs and bone broth. If you can get enough from the natural source, you can add a couple of scoops of collagen supplement to your yogurt, juice, and smoothies every day. If you want to buy collagen supplements, it is good to visit a close sports nutritionist to make sure you buy NSF certified products.
Turmeric and ginger belong to the same family. Turmeric has considerable anti-inflammatory content, and most sports nutrition experts recommend that an adequate amount of turmeric helps muscle recovery. You can get turmeric supplementation through capsules. Turmeric supplement capsules help reduce the inflammatory response of endurance and resistance exercise.
Sports nutrition research showed that turmeric helps relieve osteoarthritis pain. While there are no strict rules regarding the amount of this spice you should eat per day, several sports nutritionists have agreed that taking 400 – 600 mg capsule or 1 -3 tsp per day of powder can immensely affect your joints.
After discussing some foods that best work for your joints, let’s get through some foods that can worsen or damage your joint.
Worst foods for your joints
Overconsumption of added sugars is associated with the presence of pro-inflammatory substances in the body. Sugars are essential in the body, but excess added sugars can worsen your joint pain and inflammation. Sport nutrition experts proved that eating excess sugary treats, sweets, or sugar-sweetened processed foods can worsen your muscle soreness and joint pain.
Alcohol is not a recommend substance in sports nutrition. It does more for athletes than good. Excessive alcohol intake promotes inflammation in your body and can cause a high level of C-reactive protein (CRP), which has been linked with joint pain.
Excess Refined Grains
Refined grains have no fiber contents; it has been removed in the refining process. Frequent consumption of refined grains, including pasta and white bread, may result in worsening your joint pain.
As an athlete, you need to know that your joint’s health has many contributions to your athletic performance and overall career success. Following a professional sports nutrition guide will help maintain not only your joints but your health as a whole.