Want a lifetime of happy joints? Look no further than these seven super nutrients.
Ninety-nine percent of your body’s calcium is in your skeleton, proving just how vital this mineral is to strong bones. Make sure you get the 1,000 to 1,200 milligrams (mg) you need daily from dairy products and foods fortified with calcium. For better absorption, get plenty of vitamin D and phosphorus, too.
This magnificent mineral promotes tendon and cartilage function, and works hand-in-hand with calcium to boost bone mineral density. Eat nuts, beans, and whole grains to get the recommended daily requirements — 320 mg for women and 420 mg for men.
With 85 percent of all phosphorus found in your skeleton, it’s no surprise this mineral is necessary for joint health. Eat phosphorus-rich foods like milk, cheese, seeds, nuts, fortified cereals, meat, fish, and poultry to get the recommended 700 mg a day.
You probably think of protein as something your muscles need. And you would be right. But your joints need it, too, since protein gives shape and strength to your bones and tendons. Experts recommend about 7 grams (g) of protein for every 20 pounds of body weight, or approximately 46 g for women and 56 g for men every day.
The C could stand for “critical” because this vitamin plays a crucial role in bone and cartilage growth. Studies show vitamin C lowers the risk of cartilage loss and can keep your OA from getting worse. Fruits and vegetables like kiwi, oranges, grapefruit, red and green bell peppers, and cantaloupes are just a few of the best sources. Men should get 90 mg daily and women 75 mg.
The jury seems out on this one. While vitamin D is definitely important for bone strength, it may not directly improve your OA symptoms — unless your D levels are low to start with. Adults should get from 600 to 800 international units (IU) daily. Although your body can make vitamin D from sunshine, you can only get it from fortified milk and a few other foods, like fish. Talk to your doctor about taking supplements.
You may not hear as much about zinc as you do calcium and magnesium, but when it comes to joint health, this trace mineral is essential. Studies show people with osteoarthritis have low levels of zinc. Men need 11 mg daily and women need 8 mg. Get zinc from milk, cheese, pork, red meat, whole-grain cereals, and dark chicken meat.