How I've helped my aching knees!
(This is a sponsored post but all views are my own and, as you know, I only work with brands that share my ethics and that I would buy anyway).
Do you suffer from creaky, achey knees? Mine are definitely getting worse as I get older and I’m not talking about how they look! I can’t do anything about that. But my knees really stiffen up and hurt if: I sit down for too long and then get up, such as at the movies. They’re sometimes stiff first thing in the morning and, after my last trip to Amsterdam, were killing me after days of walking at leat 18k steps a day and dancing! So, if you’re like me or suffer from osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or anything in between, help is at hand! In this blog I share all my top tips on lifestyle, exercise & diet for less painful, stronger joints, as well as a new joint supplement made from 100% natural active ingredients that has been clinically trialled and proven to help alleviate inflammation. So grab a cuppa and put your feet up…….
*Consumer study feedback conducted amongst 100 UK participants suffering from light to medium joint pain. Overall 94% of people saw significant improvement in 1 or more of the following indicators after taking FlexiQule for only 4 weeks: Improved flexibility and mobility, decreased stiffness and joint pain.” (Swift, March 2017, UK)
The two biggies are Boswellia and Ginger as well as flaxseed oil, sunflower and lecithin. Boswellia and ginger are both well documented for reducing inflammation in the joints. And both are grown in the ground so their phytonutrients can be extracted for maximum effect on the joints.
A new kid on the block to me, Boswellia Is also known as Indian Frankincense. It’s a potent plant which has been proven to increase joint mobility and loosen up stiff joints. Its anti-inflammatory qualities can ease the pain of Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis and it is a natural alternative to NSAIDs (Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs) without the side effects often associated with taking prescription drugs.
Ginger, as you probably know, has been used as a health supplement for centuries. It is taken for various health issues all over the world, from nausea to fighting that dreaded cold. It also contains anti-inflammatory properties similar to NSAIDs and can really help sore, stiff joints associated with Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis.
You probably know by now that I am a major fan of Omega 3 rich flaxseeds and flaxseed oil. Omega 3 fatty acids help to produce the prostaglandin 3 series (PG3) which has been shown to reduce: inflammation, blood pressure, heart disease, as well as improving cholesterol levels, hormone production & metabolism. It’s the single most important fatty acid for health & ageing and any inflammation in your body. So I’m thrilled to see that FlexiQule contains flaxseed oil.
The joint supplement I may have recommended before I discovered FlexiQule would have contained Glucosamine and Chondroitin, both well known for improving join mobility and helping to build cartilage in the joints, but I had no idea that both often contain animal derivatives:
Glucosamine is an amino sugar which is made from the shells of shellfish or created synthetically in a laboratory. It can also cause side effects, such as stomach upsets and rashes, and shouldn’t be taken by anyone who has diabetes as it could raise blood sugar levels.
Like Glucosamine, Chondroitin is also found in the body in cartilage and bone. Studies have shown that it can also prevent cartilage from breaking down BUT it is normally derived from either cow or shark cartilage!!!! (That has shaken me to the core!) It too can cause digestive issues, side-effects wise.
(I should point out that both glucosamine and chondroitin can be found in a suitable form for vegetarians and vegans, but do check the ingredients if that’s what you’re using).
Apart from being 100% plant based, FlexiQule is also a cheaper alternative retailing at £16.99 for two weeks or £32.28 for one month. What I didn’t know when I wrote this post, having taken FlexiQule for two months, is if you need to take it daily, permanently. But I ran out two weeks ago and, so far, my knees are just tickety boo! The answer is: the beneficial effects don't stop immediately but do diminish after a while. So if you are permanently affected by pain, take it as one of your daily supplements.
However, with my nutritionist’s hat on, I can’t finish this post without giving you my very best top tips on how to reduce inflammation in your body and strengthen your joints so you’re doing all you can to improve your symptoms. There’s no point taking a supplement with your meal if the food you’re eating is going to exacerbate joint pain. I’ve also added a bit on exercise and other things I do to soothe any aches and pains in my body, so I hope it helps.
Acidic foods can cause inflammation in the body giving you sore and painful joints, and other health issues, big time. So emphasise alkaline foods as much as possible and reduce these acidic bad boys for the sake of your health, weight and joints as much as you can.
Processed food: take-away, ready-meals, fast food etc.
Refined carbs: cakes, biccies, white bread, pasta and white rice (brown rice is good).
Red meat: especially pork, beef and lamb.
Some experts also believe that shellfish can increase inflammation in the body.
Fried foods: chips, fried chicken, doughnuts etc.
Saturated fats: but keep those high in Omega 3 in your diet, such as oily fish, seeds and nuts.
Salt, sugar and stimulants, including excess coffee, tea & alcohol.
Members of the deadly nightshade (solanaceae) family can often exacerbate inflammation: so keep an eye on your consumption of tomatoes, aubergine or eggplant, potato, and peppers.
Avoid fizzy, sweet drinks because of the phosphorus they contain. The body takes calcium from the bones to handle excess phosphorus in the blood leading to weaker bones & joints.
EAT MORE ALKALINE FOODS…… if in doubt, just eat more raw.
Fruit: especially berries for their antioxidant value.
Vegetables: especially dark green veg such as spinach, kale and broccoli because they are high in glucosinolate that has been shown to improve liver detoxification by as much as 30%.
Nuts & seeds, especially those high in Omega 3: walnuts, hazel nuts and pecans plus seeds such as chia, sesame, flax and hemp seeds.
Oily fish such as salmon and tuna for their high Omega 3 content.
And if you want to try fasting (always brilliant for improving inflammation) or juices/smoothies that are packed full of alkaline foods, you’ll find plenty of help here.
Swap your normal vinegar for apple cider vinegar. It’s better than other vinegars for combatting inflammation in the body. Nettle tea can also help dissolve uric acid in the joints so that could be worth a try instead of your normal cuppa.
Daily exercise is essential for health, losing weight and to strengthen the muscles around your joints. At least 30 minutes a day is recommended, but three or four 10 minute sessions throughout the day is just as good if you don’t want to do it all in one go. Low impact exercise is the name of the game when you have inflamed joints. Stationary bikes, swimming, yoga, pilates, and walking on even, flat surfaces are what I have found to be the best for my knees. I still do my 10k steps a day but am careful not to go down hills too much. That’s where my weakness lies. If you’re in pain, start gently and gradually build up to keep your joints moving and your muscles strong.
Extra weight puts an enormous strain on joints so following an alkaline diet, as well as a low-glycaemic diet, (you’ll find most of the inflammatory foods overlap with those high on the glycaemic list). Working up to whatever your preferred exercise is will help big time. I love walking because I have a dog and, here’s a great stat for you….. if you were to walk briskly for 45 minutes a day four times a week, without dieting, you could lose 8 kilos/17lbs in a year! Apart from strengthening your heart and lungs, walking improves bone density and puts less stress on the lower body joints than running. Walking is the most frequently prescribed form of exercise when it comes to preventing conditions such as osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and chronic backache (which affects 28 million of us in the UK alone).
I’m adding this top tip for painful knees after an Instagram friend got in touch. Stretching your quads when you get up from sitting for hours really helps. I always do quad stretches before & after long walks and exercise classes etc., but never thought of doing this in a public place, such as after a long meal sitting in a restaurant or getting up after a movie. I am now! Just pull each thigh up behind you, holding your foot, and hold for 10 to 20 seconds. It really helps! Thank you Deborah Farkas, The Ageing Warrior, for mentioning this.
Who doesn’t love a bath? There are lots of other ways to relax but one of the best, I’m sure you’ll agree, is having a long hot soak in the bath.
My favourite, and the best for aching joints, is an Epsom salts bath because of the effect the magnesium it contains has on your body. Soaking in Epsom salts will help any muscular aches and pains you might have. It is well known for helping people suffering from arthritis or sciatica and will help fight colds, flu and other viruses you may be coming down with. I have one at least twice a week. You can read more here.
Use a cup of Epsom salts (available in most chemists & pharmacies) dissolving under a running tap, soak for a minimum of 15-20 minutes, drink plenty of water afterwards and relaaaaaax. You’ll sleep like a baby.
So, I hope this has article helps you and, as usual, I would love to hear from you if you try the supplement or any of my advice gives you great results. Feedback is always welcome!