It seems like such a cliche to discuss our aging and aching bones, but it’s a ubiquitous problem that only gets worse when you don’t do something to support your bones and joints.
Your bones and joints are the systems in your body that allow you to move and function normally. As these structures start to disintegrate or hurt, we instantly feel much older and lose some of the abilities we had only a few years ago.
Luckily, aching bones and joints are no longer a sign you’re over the hill. Studies have found numerous ways you can keep your bones and joints healthy, manage pain and regain some lost functionality, all with natural remedies that won’t harm your body more than help it.
Here are some aids and remedies to get you feeling just like new.
We all know that calcium supports strong bones, but you may not understand how vital it is to feed your body enough calcium regularly. People with low calcium levels may lose bone mass faster and fracture bones more easily, both of which can equal major complications as you age. Don’t simply rely on your diet to get enough calcium, add a natural supplement to make sure you reach your full daily dosage.
2. Vitamin D
Vitamin D helps your bones absorb that strengthening calcium. In fact, a 2009 study from the Archives of Internal Medicine found as many as three out of four Americans suffer from a Vitamin D deficiency. Remember to get 10 to 15 minutes of sun exposure three times a week to get your vitamin D fill.
3. Eat a Calcium-Rich Diet
A healthy, balanced diet is crucial to maintaining bone and joint health. Include calcium-rich foods in your everyday meals, such as fortified cereals, dark leafy greens, yogurt and milk products or milk alternatives for those who are lactose intolerant.
4. Glucosamine and Chondroitin Supplements
Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements are derived from the substances naturally found in healthy cartilage. Taken alone or together, these supplements may relieve pain, improve mobility and slow osteoarthritis-related damage to joints.
5. Turmeric, Ginger and Boswellia Supplements
Healthy alternatives to aspirin and ibuprofen, these supplements can help with pain management when treating osteoarthritis. Be careful, though, ginger may thin blood, so it should be used under a doctor’s supervision.
6. Peppermint & Eucalyptus Essential Oil
These soothing essential oils can be used to cool sore areas or relieve the pain of arthritis. Make sure to use essential oils with a carrier oil (almond or coconut) to keep from irritating your skin. Use the oil sparingly, essential oils are stronger than you think.
7. SAMe Supplement
S-adenosy-L-methioine (SAMe) is a naturally occurring molecule that delivers sulfur to your cartilage, which helps build strong joints. Another effective pain reliever, this supplement is great for preventing and coping with bone and joint pain.
8. Epsom Salt Soak
Easy and relaxing, this timeless remedy will soothe your sore muscles in no time. Epsom salt is high in magnesium and sulfates, which help to reduce inflammation. Pouring salts into a warm bath helps deliver their healing properties quickly through your skin.
9. Hot & Cold Packs
For temporary, immediate joint pain relief, use a hot pack on the affected area for 20 minutes. Then switch to a cold pack and hold it to the sore area for another 20 minutes. Repeat the process until your joints feel better.
When your muscles aren’t regularly used, they become stiff and tight. Exercise helps to stretch and strengthen your muscles and joints and helps to prevent injury in the future. Who knew jumping on the elliptical could actually save your life?
11. Turmeric & Ginger Tea
Both of these substances are anti-inflammatory, which helps relieve osteo and rheumatoid arthritis. Additionally, the active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, which strengthens antioxidants to fight free-radicals and repair cell damage. Take these in a capsule or mix them together for a healing drink.
Magnesium is one of the few things our body needs, but can’t create on its own. It’s used in numerous physical processes, including relaxing muscles, easing pain and helping bones mineralize. Take magnesium in a supplement, by eating spinach, nuts and legumes, or relieve pain with magnesium oil.
13. White Willow Bark
One of the first natural pain relievers, white willow bark has been taken for centuries to relieve sore muscles. The active ingredient, salicin, makes pain melt away (it’s the same chemical used in aspirin), and doesn’t irritate the stomach. Take white willow as a supplement or sip it down as a soothing tea.
14. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil contains oleocanthal, which inhibits inflammatory enzymes COX-1 and COX-2 the same way Advil does. You can use chilled EVOO to lubricate and tame sore joints. Massage your ailing areas twice a day, or add EVOO to your diet for internal benefits.
15. Dandelion Leaves
The leaves of this common yard flower can actually offer some relief for inflamed joints. Surprisingly high in vitamins A and C, dandelion leaves can help repair damaged tissue. They also have trace amounts of linoleic, which can help reduce inflammation. Add these leaves to a salad or boil them for a tea and don’t forget to add honey to sweeten the naturally bitter greens.
16. Blackstrap Molasses
Blackstrap molasses has been a traditional home remedy for arthritis for years, due to it’s high volume of calcium, potassium and magnesium. After boiling sugar syrup three times, you’re left with blackstrap molasses which can be added to water for a relieving beverage. You can also find blackstrap molasses supplements, but be aware of their laxative properties.
17. Juniper Berry Tea
Juniper berries carry a component called terpinen-4-ol, which suppresses monocytes: white blood cells that cause inflammation. Juniper berries are said to aid rheumatoid arthritis, which is when the immune system attacks normal joint tissue for no reason, causing inflammation, pain and loss of function. Make sure to use prickly juniper and common juniper in your tea for an effective anti-inflammatory.
18. Golden Raisins & Gin
This old home remedy combines two natural ingredients we’ve already talked about. Gin gets its signature flavor from juniper berries (#17) and golden raisins get their bright color from sulfides, which are also found in glucosamine and chondroitin (#4). The recipe requires you to put a cup of golden raisins in a shallow pan, cover with gin, and then let the gin evaporate for two weeks. Once the gin has evaporated, a handful of raisins a day is said to keep arthritis symptoms to a minimum.
19. Pectin & Grape Juice
Although studies are still needed to prove the beneficial effects of pectin, people swear by this home remedy. Pectin is a carbohydrate substance found in plants that is hypothesized to help return the synovial tissue to a more lubricated state, reducing pain from movement. Since grape juice has also been found to help with inflammation, the combination of these two substances is said to bring relief to those with arthritis after only a few weeks of drinking it.
Living with muscle and joint problems can be stressful, painful and dangerous. It’s vital to take care of your muscles and joints before you get injured or an illness develops. Losing bone mass and developing creaky joints is part of the aging process, but, as you can see, there is a lot more you can do to sooth your aches and pains than simply rely on potentially harmful painkillers.
Look to solve your health problems as naturally as possible, and use natural remedies in conjunction with doctor-prescribed medications. You just might find that natural supplements and healthy foods help your aching bones and whole body function at their very best!