Q: I am a firm believer in maintaining a balanced diet to meet my nutritional needs. However, as I am aging, my joints aren't as forgiving, especially after my morning runs. My daughter suggested glucosamine supplements, mentioning they could be beneficial for my joint health.
While I am not opposed to supplements, I prefer sourcing nutrients from natural foods whenever possible. I am curious to know, how can I get glucosamine naturally through my diet, and are there particular foods you would recommend for someone keen on preserving joint health?
— Emily Richardson, Boulder, CO
Your dedication to a balanced diet and an active lifestyle is truly commendable. It's wonderful to hear that you are proactive about seeking natural ways to support your joint health. Glucosamine is a compound that's vital for building cartilage, which is crucial for joint function and comfort, especially as we age.
Getting glucosamine naturally from food can be a bit challenging as it is primarily found in the hard covering of shellfish and in the form of chondroitin sulfate in animal cartilages. Here are a few dietary sources and suggestions:
- Shellfish Shells: The shells of shellfish such as shrimp, crab, and lobster are rich sources of glucosamine. While not typically part of the western diet, you can boil these shells to make a nutritious broth.
- Bone Broth: While not a direct source of glucosamine, bone broth contains other joint-supporting nutrients like chondroitin and collagen which can be beneficial for joint health.
- Animal Cartilage: Foods like trachea or joints of animals contain glucosamine and chondroitin. They can also be used to make broths or stews.
Maintaining a diet rich in a variety of nutrients, along with your active lifestyle, will continue to be beneficial for your overall joint health. As always, it's a good practice to consult with a healthcare professional to tailor dietary or supplement recommendations to your personal needs.
Thank you for reaching out with your insightful question, Emily. May your morning runs continue to be enjoyable and your joints strong and healthy!