Make sure you eat the right stuff, and avoid the bad!
Trail Runners put serious stress on their entire bodies, their joints in particular. Where millions of Americans suffer from chronic joint problems, trail runners can be even more at risk.
But if you give your joints what it needs to protect themselves and rebuild where necessary, you are giving yourself a better chance of avoiding injury.
Check out the list below with first 5 items to put on your diet, then 4 to leave out.
The article ends with a neat supplement list. Read on!
1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
“What you want to do is create an anti-inflammatory milieu in the body,” advises orthopedic surgeon Vonda Wright, MD. Omega-3 fatty acids are particularly good for this: They change the fatty-acid composition of cells, tamping down those inflammation-instigating cytokines.
- Coldwater fish, particularly salmon, mackerel, and herring. A good daily dose of omega-3 is 1,000 mg: “That’s equivalent to an iPhone-size piece of fish,” says Leslie Bonci, RD, of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
- Flaxseed oil. This omega-3 is a plant-based alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) that the body must convert to eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) to reap anti-inflammatory benefits.
- A tablespoon of flaxseed oil delivers 700 mg. Mix into food — or slurp it straight if you’re up for it.
- Eggs and pastured eggs enriched with omega-3s. Hens lay eggs with more of the healthy fatty acid if they’re fed flaxseeds, fish oil, or algae.
This naturally occurring mineral is the cellular scaffolding on which connective tissue is built, including cartilage, tendons, and ligaments.
- Eggs, poultry, fish, and legumes. These protein-rich foods are good sources of amino acids that contain sulfur.
- Garlic, onions, and leeks. Alliums contain the flavonoid quercetin, an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties.
- Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. Experts recommend a daily serving of these sulfur-rich veggies.
3. Calcium and Vitamin D
You need calcium for strong bones and teeth, but this mineral also assists in muscular contractions. Without enough calcium, you could be putting yourself at risk for bone loss, diminished bone density, and ultimately osteoporosis. Vitamin D is crucial to your body’s ability to absorb calcium.
- Dairy products, including milk, yogurt, and cheese (unless you have a sensitivity or allergy), are rich in calcium. Choose organic to limit your exposure to antibiotics and hormones.
- Collard greens, kale, turnip greens, arugula, and mustard greens. These and other dark leafy greens are packed with calcium.
- Egg yolks, and fatty fish like salmon and mackerel. Complement your calcium intake with these excellent whole-food sources of vitamin D.
An antioxidant that gives fruits red, blue, and dark-purple hues, anthocyanin has been shown to stop production of cytokines.
- Stone fruits such as plums and cherries. Note that sweet cherries contain the powerful pigment, but in lower amounts than their tart cousins. Bonci suggests her patients drink 8 to 16 ounces of tart cherry juice daily in place of other calories, determined by how much pain they’re trying to treat. Since tart cherry juice also contains melatonin, it might cause drowsiness. “You may not want to take it midday right before a big presentation,” she says. “It’s better at the end of the day.”
- Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, bilberries, cranberries, and black currants. Indulge in these delicious anthocyanin sources to your heart’s — and your joints’ — content.
Richard Diana, MD, an orthopedic surgeon and clinical instructor at the Yale School of Medicine, recommends eating fiber-rich foods to slow carbohydrate absorption. In Healthy Joints for Life, he explains that fiber helps control blood-sugar levels, which keeps glucose and insulin in check, restraining inflammation.
- Whole-kernel grains like oatmeal, brown rice, and quinoa.
- Legumes, including black beans, split peas, and lentils, which contain about eight times more fiber than whole-grain bread.
- Artichokes, green peas, kale, and spinach. As a general rule, the darker the color of the vegetable, the higher the fiber content.
Crucial as well: what to AVOID. Click next! (…and find a nice little supplement list at the end!)