Joints need exercise, calcium and magnesium -- but not milk

Doctors today agree: With the right diet and lifestyle, we can activate our self-healing powers and thus also keep our joints healthy. Joint cartilage plays a key role in all joint diseases. Pain happens when the wear and tear of cartilage tissue can no longer be absorbed by the body's ability to regenerate. The self-healing power of the joint consists in the ability to reproduce cartilage-building substances or to close cartilage defects. The body is capable of this regeneration if we ensure an optimal supply of nutrients.

Woman jogging on a forest path

Special features of cartilage tissue

Unlike most body tissues, cartilage does not contain any blood vessels. This means that it is impossible to supply the cartilage with nutrients via the bloodstream. Instead, nutrients are supplied by the synovial fluid that flows around the cartilage in the joint space. This is how it works: When the joint is free of pressure, the cartilage absorbs joint fluid like a sponge and absorbs the nutrients within. When the joint is under strain, this "sponge" together with the metabolic waste products is squeezed out. For this reason, regular exercise is essential to keep the cartilage healthy. Only the joint movement, which ensures a constant inflow and outflow of synovial fluid, guarantees an optimal supply of nutrients.

Your joints need these nutrients

In addition to protein and sugar building blocks playing a major role, so do calcium, magnesium and vitamin D. High-quality carbohydrates and foods with a high mineral and vitamin content are therefore essential for healthy joints. These can be nuts and seeds, whole-grain rice and cereals, vegetables and fruits. One study showed that onions, garlic and leek vegetables in particular can protect cartilage. It is important not only to pay attention to calcium intake, but also to ensure sufficient magnesium and vitamin D intake. While calcium is responsible for the strength of the bone, magnesium is a component of the soft bone matrix within the bone. It gives the bone flexibility and at the same time helps to prevent brittle bones.

Harmful foods

Large amounts of phosphate in food are particularly harmful for joints. Phosphates hinder the absorption of calcium and magnesium from the intestines. Although phosphates can be found in natural foods, such as milk or whole grain cereals, these amounts are harmless. Industrially added phosphates are dangerous for our joints. They are highly concentrated in packaged foods, sausages, processed cheese, and above all in cola drinks. Those who want to protect their joints into old age should strictly avoid the above-mentioned foods and especially cola.

Milk consumption and osteoporosis

One word about milk and whether drinking milk is good for the bones. Western countries in particular consume many dairy products, and with them calcium. Older people are especially "ordered" to protect themselves from osteoporosis. The results of a study at Harvard University in Boston in the US have made people sit up and take notice. Over a period of 12 years, the effect of milk on the bones of 75,000 women was observed. Contrary to expectations, it was found that milk did not improve the resistance of the bones. On the contrary, milk worsened it. The physicians explained that this result was due to a bad calcium/magnesium ratio; that is, too much calcium in comparison to magnesium and the resulting hyperacidity from milk consumption. Because the body must neutralize the acids with calcium and magnesium, which it dissolves from the bones, the result is osteoporosis. So if you eat milk products regularly, you should pay urgent attention to an extra portion of magnesium, because otherwise the calcium from the milk damages the bones more than it does them good. The body can utilize calcium from other calcium-rich foods much better. These other foods include nuts and seeds, especially sesame seeds, vegetables such as kale, broccoli and fennel, legumes and calcium-rich water. With mineral water, pay attention to a balanced ratio of calcium to magnesium (2:1).

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