Many types of health issues can impair your ability to move easily. For example, back pain, which is the number one most disabling type(1) of chronic pain in the world today, can interfere with the simplest forms of movement like sitting and standing!
Arthritis, which can and does impact people of all ages and affects an estimated 23 million adults(2) today, is another debilitating health issue that can significantly impact mobility. The truth is, even simple sprains and overworked muscles also get in the way of being able to move around the way you would like. With so many people struggling just to move with ease and without pain, it is easy to see why mobility issues are such an important concern..
You may be wondering, Does eating healthy impact mobility? You bet it does! In this article, learn about healthy diet advice that can speed healing, soothe aches and pains and help you regain enhanced mobility.
How Weight Gain Impacts Mobility
Being overweight affects the main weight-bearing joints, the hips and the knees
|in two different ways. First, the extra weight increases the joint reaction force within the joint. Over time, this extra joint reaction force, or pressure, causes increased wear and tear on the joint.Consider this. When you walk across level ground, the force on your knees is the equivalent of 1½ times your body weight. That means a 200-pound man will put 300 pounds of pressure on his knees with each step. Add an incline, and the pressure is even|
step. Add an incline, and the pressure is even greater: the force on each knee is two to three times your body weight when you go up and down stairs, and four to five times your body weight when you squat to tie a shoelace or pick up an item you dropped.
As WebMD(3) points out, choosing the right diet is an important part of maintaining a healthy and appropriate weight for your frame. For some people, weight gain from eating the wrong diet can actually trigger mobility issues. For other people, weight fluctuations can make existing issues with mobility worse.
This is why, for many people struggling to maintain or regain mobility today, it can be smart to start with a goal of healthy weight management. Working towards achieving your optimal (ideal) body weight may require making some dietary changes, but it will help to achieve your goal of better mobility.
What Is a Healthy Diet?
According to Harvard Health(4), eating the wrong foods can actually make it harder for you to move freely and easily without pain! But with so many fad diets and extreme eating programs being presented as “healthy” today, it can be very difficult to determine what eating healthy actually looks like.
As the National Council on Aging(5) points out, this type of confusion is called “food insecurities” and it is especially common as people get older. An important thing to keep in mind is that a healthy diet for you may not be a healthy diet for your partner, your friend, your parent or your child. At each stage of life, the human body needs more of some nutrients and less of others in order to remain healthy. However, there are staples that do remain constant throughout your healthy eating regimen. The amount of these staples may change, but the right foods or healthy foods will remain consistent.
Diets Don’t Work, But Healthy Eating Does
According to health researchers from the University of California(6), diets do not work. In fact, if ever there was a recipe for failure in achieving and maintaining your ideal body weight, it is dieting the way it is currently presented..
Caloric restriction in the form of “dieting,” which is so popular in health circles today, not only robs your body of vital vitamins, minerals and nutrients, but it also sets you up for a future full of dangerously unhealthy and emotionally stressful weight fluctuation.
|As your body is increasingly depleted of the calories it needs to simply run its basic processes, guess where it turns to find nutrients? If you guessed “the muscles” you are right. As Women’s Health Magazine(7) states, cutting calories too stringently will literally force your body to burn muscle instead of fat.As your body begins to dip into your muscles for nourishment and energy, it should be no surprise when you tart to feel more physical aches and pains. As the heart, the lungs, the major organs systems and muscle groupw of the body are depleted, your body will begin issuing warning signals in the form of these physical aches and pains.If you need and want to reduce the number you see on the scaale, the way to do it is to change what and how you eat, not by simply cutting calories. Here, working with a dietician or your family physician can help point you in the right direction to start burning the fat you want gone and not the muscle you rely on for mobility and health!|
Mobility-Limiting Foods to Avoid
Medical News Today(8) highlightscertain key foods to avoid because they are known to affect mobility. This means that if you already have mobility issues, consuming these foods can make your issues worse.
Foods People following an anti-inflammatory diet should avoid include:
- Processed Meats.
- Sugary Drinks.
- Trans fats, found in fried foods.
- White Bread.
- Soybean oiland Vegetable
- Processed Snack foods, such as chips and crackers.
Unfortunately, these foods seem to be everywhere today and thus can be very hard to avoid. They are saturated fat, sugar and refined carbohydrates.
The good news is, according to the Arthritis Foundation(9), certain other foods that have gotten a bad reputation for causing inflammation are actually mostly okay to eat!
Dairy, citrus fruits, mushrooms, white bread, chocolate and popcorn are all basically okay to consume so long as these foods do not trigger other health issues for you (such as lactose intolerance, a well-known side effect some people get when consuming dairy).
Popcorn delivers antioxidants and useful fiber, while white bread is packed with folic acid. Mushrooms have potassium, an essential mineral for building strong muscles and nerves.
Chocolate has cancer-fighting antioxidants and citrus is a natural immune booster. Dairy, especially low-fat dairy, can help some people who are at risk of gout, a painful mobility-limiting issue, feel better.
Here again, there is no one-size-fits-all recommendation for which foods to include and which foods to eliminate. While it can help to know about foods that may cause some people to experience health or mobility issues, this does not necessarily mean these foods cause those issues for you.
Building your own Healthy Diet
Healthy diet advice that targets your individual mobility concerns begins with learning as much as you can about what is causing your lack of mobility. If you don’t know the cause, then it can also help to consider doing a limited-time elimination diet to remove certain foods you suspect may be triggering your discomfort or movement limitations. While this can be a painful experience, try following these helpful eating tips:
Eight foods to eat and why
Including specific foods in the diet can strengthen the bones, muscles, and joints and help the body to fight inflammation and disease and thus improve mobility over time. People with osteoarthritis can try adding the following eight foods to their diet to ease their symptoms:
- Oily fish
Oily fish contain lots of healthful omega-3 fatty acids. These polyunsaturated fats have anti-inflammatory properties so they may benefit people with osteoarthritis.People with osteoarthritis should try to eat at least one portion of oily fish per week. Oily fish include:
- Fresh Tuna
Those who prefer not to eat fish can take supplements that contain omega-3 instead, such as fish oil, krill oil, or flaxseed oil.
In addition to oily fish, some other oils can reduce inflammation. Extra virgin olive oil contains high levels of oleocanthal, which may have similar properties to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Avocado and safflower oils are healthful options and may also help to lower cholesterol.
Milk, yogurt, and cheese are rich in calcium and vitamin D. These nutrients increase bone strength, which may improve painful symptoms.
Dairy also contains proteins that can help to build muscle. People who are aiming to manage their weight can choose low-fat options.
- Dark leafy greens
Dark leafy greens are rich in Vitamin D and stress-fighting phytochemicals and antioxidants. Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption and can also boost the immune system, helping the body to fight off infection.
Dark leafy greens include:
Broccoli contains a compound called sulforaphane, which researchers believe could slow the progression of osteoarthritis.
This vegetable is also rich in vitamins K and C, as well as bone-strengthening calcium.
6 Green tea
Polyphenols are antioxidants that experts believe may be able to reduce inflammation and slow the rate of cartilage damage. Green tea contains high levels of polyphenols. Green tea is available for purchase online.
Scientists believe that a compound called diallyl disulfide that occurs in garlic may work against the enzymes in the body that damage cartilage.
Nuts are good for the heart and contain high levels of calcium, magnesium, zinc, vitamin E, and fiber. They also contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which boosts the immune system.
The President’s Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition(10) offers these guidelines to begin a healthy diet program. The My Plate(11) guide can help you build your own healthy meals online. Visualize your meals as a circular dinner plate. On half of that plate, fill it with colorful fruits and vegetables. On the other half of your plate you can include whole grains and lean protein sources.
Whole grains like wild rice, brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, bulgar and rolled oats all preserve the full nutrients in the grains. Seafood, lean red meat and poultry, beans and legumes, eggs and a limited quantity of seeds and nuts are all good choices for your protein needs.
Replace sugar-filled beverages with plain water or non-sweet beverages. Limit your intake of saturated fats, sugar and refined carbohydrates. If you like to drink milk and consume dairy, switch to low-fat versions of your favorites.
Finally, keep a close watch on your sodium intake especially in prepared foods. When you cook, using herbs, spices and citrus can all add tasty flavor.
Better Nutrition Equals Better Mobility
When you are nourishing and hydrating your body properly and fully, your muscles are free to do their job and your body and immune system can get back to doing the hard work of healing. It won’t happen overnight, but with a healthy diet, better mobility is sure to follow.
And remember for a healthy diet and to lose weight and gain better mobility and a healthier, better lifestyle reach out us. We are here to help
We will be writing a follow-up article in which we will be showing simple exercises to help with range of motion and better mobility.. DRS