Creaky Joints in Winter?
We all know that arthritis affects many of us as we start to age, actively involved in physical activity or have increased body mass. But interestingly enough, the creaks in our joints seem to occur more frequent in colder or rainy seasons.
Folklore sayings that relate weather to pains are still being used today, ‘aches and pains, coming rains’ that may carry certain truths with it. Till today, the speculation on why we experience more pain and discomfort in our joints in cooler temperatures and wet seasons is still under investigation. A recent research carried out on patients suffering from rheumatic conditions stated that the intensity of pain was related to weather conditions such as low temperatures, high humidity and high atmospheric pressure1, 2. This may be caused by inflammation of the muscles around the joints, amplifying the effects of arthritis1. Therefore, we need to take extra care in winter seasons to keep our joints happy.
The best way to treat your joints is through a healthy diet, including foods that reduce the occurrence of arthritis and its painful symptoms. Foods high in healthy fats such as polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) have shown to be beneficial to joint health. Flaxseed oil contains approximately 60% alpha-linoleic acid which is much higher than other common oils like canola oil or soybean oil3. Alpha-linoleic acid is the primary building blocks required for their anti-inflammatory properties and hypertension. Chia seeds are also the latest up-and-coming superfood not only rich in essential fatty acids, but also contain a variety of minerals and vitamins that seem to enhance bone health and prevent osteoporosis4, 5. I like to use Morlife’s flaxseed oil with a pinch of salt and pepper as a salad dressing and Morlife’s chia seeds that create a delicious and nutritious meal my body will love!
Alternatively, you can also incorporate a supplement powder that contains herbs and plant extracts that support your body through a more natural way of healing. This complimentary method of treating aches in your joints are not only aimed at acting as a pain-relief (this is generally the job of most medications), but instead provides your body with the required nutrients and minerals necessary for strengthening bones, along with anti-inflammatory effects. Some beneficial ingredients great for your joints are naturally-occurring compounds like glucosamine, chondroitin and methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) that have more synergistic effects when used together compared to their individual compounds. Anti-inflammatory herbs like Boswellia, Turmeric, Ginger and Devil’s claw are also great for relieving joint and muscle pain.
Whilst taking these nutritional supplements and great nutritious foods for healthy, happy joints don’t forget to keep your body hydrated and your joints warm especially during cold seasons. Exercise is also extremely important as this can maintain muscular and bone strength giving you greater mobility and agility!
- Abasolo L et al., 2012, ‘Weather conditions may worsen symptoms in rheumatoid arthritis patients: The possible effect of temperature’, Reumatol Clin.,
- Strusberg I et al., 2002, ‘Influence of weather conditions on rheumatic pain’, The Journal of Rheumatology., 29 (2): pp.335-338
- Debasis, B, 2011, ‘Arthritis: Potential Health Benefits of n-3 and -6 Fatty Acids in Selected Plant Seed Oils in Rheumatoid Arthritis’, CRC Press., pp. 385- 39
- Ayerza, R and Coates, W (2000) Dietary level of chia: Influence on yolk cholesterol, lipid content and fatty acid composition for two strains of hens. Poultry Science.; 79: 724-739
- Vuksan, V, Rogovik, A, Whiteham, D, et al (2007) Supplementation of conventional therapy with the novel grain salba (Salvia hispanica L.) improves major and emerging cardiovascular risk factors in type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care.; 30(11): 2804- 2810.