Elderly marathoner who has incorporated food for healthy joints into his athletic diet is stretching his leg before a race

5 Ways To Promote Healthy Joints and Ligaments

Do you want to enjoy your life, move with ease, feel strong, go for walks or hikes, run along with your kids, grandkids, or furbabies - all without pain? Collagen protein and some other simple-but-powerful new habits can help you keep those joints and ligaments healthy as you age. 

Is all Joint, Tendon, and Ligament Pain Equal?

Sometimes, where an ache or a pain comes from doesn’t matter - you just want it to go away. But identifying the source of your struggles can help you understand what habits will help prevent future distress.

The Cleveland Clinic breaks down joint, tendon and ligament pain (also called musculoskeletal pain) into six categories: bone pain, muscle pain, tendon and ligament pain, Fibromyalgia, joint pain, and tunnel syndrome. 

Bone pain is deep and related to serious medical conditions or injuries whereas the others are more related to - and impacted by - our day to day lives. We’ve all felt the ache of a muscle after sleeping weird or exercising after a long break. And many of us have over-stressed a tendon or ligament by spraining an ankle. Our joints may be stiffer now than 20 years ago and some of us may be feeling the effects of a career spent typing on a keyboard (carpal tunnel is a tunnel syndrome pain). 

So, what do all these different types of pain have in common?

They stem from your joints and ligaments, which are both made up of about 60% collagen protein peptides. This is a protein your body naturally produces that is responsible for the structure, strength, and elasticity of your joints, ligaments, and skin.  

But as your body’s natural reserves of collagen become depleted, these parts of your body begin to wear down. There are a few reasons why this might be happening. And, even better, a few natural things you can do and foods for healthy joints that you can eat to promote collagen production and reduce aches and pains.

Main Causes of Joint Problems

If you’re feeling pain or stiffness in your joints, you aren’t alone. Arthritis, whether mild or severe, affects millions of people around the world. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in every four adults in the US (around 15 million people) are experiencing severe pain as a result of arthritis. And this number doesn’t even include non-arthritis joint and ligament pain. 

When it comes to joint and ligament issues, the culprit may be inflammation.

Inflammation gets a bad rap, but it’s ultimately there to help out. It’s your body’s protective mechanism that helps repair and recover from injuries, infections, and illness. For example, if you fall on your knees or twist your ankles, you may experience some swelling, redness, and pain. This is temporary inflammation that gradually gets better over time and is a necessary step for injury recovery.

When your body doesn’t get to “turn off” that protective mechanism and your body finds itself with constant inflammation, that’s where the problems may occur. 

Chronic inflammation could be caused by a host of factors - both that we can and cannot change - like poor dietary and lifestyle choices, a lack of sleep, poor stress management, drinking, and environmental toxins. Over time, it can cause a change in mood, digestive issues, drowsiness, heartburn, headaches, a weakened immune system, aches, pains and more.

  • Older age: Collagen helps to build cartilage in your joints and helps to protect your joints and ligaments. Unfortunately, your body’s production of it slows in your late 20s and by your 50s and 60s it’s significantly depleted. This is why supplementing with collagen protein is so important (more on that later!).

  • Repetitive movements: If you an active person, or used to be in your younger days, you might’ve put a lot of pressure on your knees, hips, back, ankle, or pelvis. This might lead to weakened joints, injuries, pain, and inflammation.

  • Osteoarthritis or Rheumatoid Arthritis: Arthritis is one of the most common problems people face today that results in pain and inflammation in the joints and ligaments. Fortunately, understanding what irritates your symptoms can help you manage it.

  • Injuries, trauma, and impact: Injuries, accidents, impact, and trauma sometimes lead to long-term damage and accompanying symptoms in your joints and ligaments.

  • Hypermobility: While joint flexibility is essential for joint and ligament health, too much of it can become a problem. If you have hypermobility or too much flexibility, it is important to do some strength and resistance training to help to stabilize your joints and keep them healthy.

  • Smoking: There is a link between smoking and joint issues. While smoking has decreased by 10% over the years, up to 20% of the population is still lighting up. Smoking may cause a long list of health issues, including joint and ligament problems. And, of the group of people who smoke regularly, about 30% of people are dealing with back pain and 30% with other joint and ligament issues.

Now that you understand what your joints are, what is collagen, and what causes inflammation, you are ready to take some steps to promote healthy joints and ligaments.

1. Introduce Dynamic Movements to Your Day

If you have joint or ligament discomfort, you may feel that exercise is counterproductive. However, doing some aerobic and resistance training helps strengthen your muscles and improve your flexibility. This doesn’t need to be overwhelming, as any amount of movement has the ability to be an incredibly important step toward improving your joint and ligament health. 

Make sure to be gentle with yourself and start where you are. Some activities that may be beneficial for joint and ligament health include:

  • Tai chi
  • Yoga
  • Water aerobics
  • Pilates
  • Light walking, swimming, biking, or dancing
  • Lifting weights

If you haven’t set foot into the gym for a while, working with a skilled physical therapist may be beneficial for improving your joint and ligament health in a strategic manner that’s right for your body. They can help with proper form that is incredibly crucial for your joint and ligament health.

Finally, make sure to stretch regularly throughout the day, before and after working out, and before going to bed. Again, working with a physical therapist may be a great idea as they can show you specific stretches that are right for your body and unique health goals. Alternatively, your doctor can also guide you and explain what may work for you. Remember, everybody and every body is different, it is important to do the right exercises and stretches that benefit your needs.

2. Take Epsom Salt Baths

Taking an Epsom salt bath may be one of the most enjoyable ways to fight joint and ligament pain and discomfort. It is incredibly relaxing and detoxifying after a hard day on your feet or a sedentary one sitting at your desk, or after hitting the gym with that personal trainer we mentioned. 

But what are Epsom salts and why you should put them into your bath - besides relaxation?

Epsom salts are different from regular bath salts, mineral-rich Dead Sea salts, or salt that you put in your favorite dinner dishes. They are therapeutic salts that are high in magnesium, which can be easily absorbed through your skin when the warm water of a bath has opened your pores. Magnesium is a mineral essential for nerve, muscle, and joint cartilage function. Knowing that, it’s no wonder Epsom salt baths are recommended to reduce inflammation, reduce muscle spasms, and relax your tense muscles.

To prepare an Epsom salt bath, add two cups to your bathwater. Soak for ten to twenty minutes. You may also create a compress by soaking a towel in Epsom saltwater and applying it on your skin in the problem areas.

3. Buy a New Bed and Get some Quality ZZZ’s

Proper sleep is actually essential not just for your joints and ligaments, but your overall health. Yet 70 percent of people with arthritis experience poor sleep, suffering from further joint pain as a result. Sleeping is the time when your body can rest, relax, recuperate, and repair. 

But when you’re talking about sleep both the amount and quality matters. 

You go through sleep cycles at night with different types of sleep. Rapid eye movement sleep (REM) sleep is the time when you are truly resting and sleeping deeply. However, when you are sleeping too little and experiencing too many interruptions, it is difficult to get to REM and truly repair and prepare your body for the next day.

Aim for 7 to 8 hours a night. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day to support your circadian rhythm, or your body’s natural, internal process that regulates your sleep-wake cycle. Invest in a sleep-supporting bed, bedding, and pillows. Old mattresses can be hard on your joints and can cause pressure points or “hot spots”. And sleep on your back or your side - this keeps your spine straight rather than twisting your neck while sleeping on your stomach. 

Regardless of your sleep position, though, you can keep your joints happy by buying the right pillows to support your neck and back throughout the night.

To further support your sleep, try to avoid sugar, caffeine, and heavy meals close to bedtime. Try some calming herbal tea instead. Turn off all technology two hours before bedtime, and engage in calming activities, such as reading, crossword puzzles, stretching, and meditation.

4. Eat Foods for Healthy Joints and Inflammation-Fighting Superfoods

Processed foods, too much sugar, junk food, and fried foods may increase inflammation in your body. And inflammation in your body may lead to joint inflammation and pain. You want to stop the cycle, move to an anti-inflammatory diet and eat more nutrient-dense foods. 

Remove processed foods, junk food, refined sugar, refined oils, deep-fried foods, and any foods that you may be sensitive to. Gluten and dairy are two of the most common foods that lead to inflammation - and have recently been in the spotlight because of the heightened sensitivity many people develop to them. 

So, what should you put on your plate?

Fill up with leafy greens, vegetables, herbs, spices, fruits, nuts, seeds, and high-quality animal products, such as pasture-raised beef, free-range poultry, eggs, and wild-caught fish. Since getting a high-quality, fast-absorbing, complete protein is so important for your joints and ligaments, we have a whole section dedicated to that next.

You may also want to try some inflammation-fighting superfoods. Turmeric is one of the most anti-inflammatory superfoods and spices out there that you may add to your dishes.

Curcumin is the active component of turmeric that is responsible for all its health benefits. Research has found that turmeric may optimize the inflammatory response in your body and may be as effective as NSAIDs when it comes to soothing joint pain without negative side effects. You may add turmeric to your green juices, smoothies, salads, Asian-inspired dishes, and soups. You may make turmeric tea or golden milk. You may even take turmeric supplements. 

Other inflammation-fighting superfoods you may be able to supplement with daily include glucosamine, fish oil, and ginger. However, make sure to talk to your doctor before taking any supplements to make sure that it’s right for you.

5. Take Collagen Protein

When it comes to healthy joints and ligaments, protein is incredibly important. But did you know that 65 - 80 % of the human body is made up of a specific type of protein called collagen? And did you know that your body’s natural production reduces by age 26? 

The amino acids in protein promote tissue regeneration, repair, and strength - everything you need for joint and ligament health. So, for optimal joint-support, we recommend that you try a daily collagen protein supplement because it is a superior, fast-absorbing complete protein compared to other options like whey or soy.

Collagen contains 19 amino acids and 8 essential amino acids. Glycine, proline, hydroxyproline, and arginine are the main amino acids in collagen. These and 8 essential amino acids and 7 other non-essential amino acids create the complex triple-helical structure of collagen protein. 

Adding a daily collagen protein supplement to your diet just might help reduce joint inflammation, joint pain, and joint deterioration

In a 24-week long prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study at Penn State University, researchers looked at the benefits of collagen. The study had 147 participants: 72 male and 75 female. These subjects were divided into two groups. One of the groups received 25 mL of a liquid formulation with 10 g of collagen hydrolysate, while the other group received a placebo. Joint pain was assessed during various activities, including walking, standing, carrying objects lifting, and resting. Researchers noted an improvement in joint pain and inflammation as a result of taking collagen.

What does this mean for you?

By making a small update to your daily supplementation, you might be able to enjoy your activities better than before - and continue enjoying them for a long time. You may be able to stand in line or at work with no problem, and lift heavier objects with more ease. Your body may be less prone to sprains and pains - and recover quicker when one does happen.

When we have customers come to us looking to improve joint health, our first recommendation is collagen liquid protein. Our ProT Gold Liquid Collagen Protein is nutritious, convenient, and is backed by research and case studies alike. It was designed by a Stanford biochemist and is trusted by over 3,000 medical facilities and health professionals. Once consumed, it absorbs within 15 minutes and feeds your body with no sugar, fats or carbs - just 17.5 grams of complete protein per serving.

Get yours today and see for yourself! Feel stronger, get healthier, move easier, and regain your life.