How to maintain healthy joints and a healthy lifestyle

I am a firm believer that you should try to take your health into your own hands – looking after yourself now, to prevent problems later. And I think a proactive approach with supplements and complementary therapies can reap great rewards. Don’t let life pass you by because of joint aches and pains. Grab it with both hands and make the most of your time. My joint health top tips involve three simple steps. Make these easy lifestyle changes and you should feel the benefits within three months.

1. Enjoying a healthy diet

Maintaining a healthy weight is key for joint health. Weight loss reduces the stress on joints. One study found that a loss of just one pound of body weight reduces the load on knees by four pounds. Eating or avoiding certain foods can help, too.

• Monounsaturated fats, such as those found in olive oil, seem less likely to increase inflammation. But perhaps avoid saturated fats found in red meat, full fat dairy foods and butter: some studies suggest they can increase swelling.

• Eating a Vitamin D-rich diet has been found to lessen the risk of developing both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Vitamin D can be found in oily fish, fortified milk and orange juice. It can, of course, also be found in sunlight. 10 minutes without sunscreen a few times a week provides the right sort of dose.

• Brightly coloured fruits and vegetables -such as oranges, peppers, pumpkins, and tangerines and papayas - contain carotenoids, which some studies suggest may decrease inflammation. Eating more fruit and vegetables in general will ease the pressure on your joints. That’s because they contain natural anti-inflammatories which can help reduce swelling.

2. Getting into Exercise

Exercise and weight control are among the most effective self-help measures for alleviating the symptoms of joint pain. The point of the exercise is to improve or maintain cardiovascular fitness and range of motion and muscle tone while avoiding excessive stress or injury to joints. Studies show regular physical activity as you get older improves your balance, strength, power, blood pressure, stamina and bone density.

Walking, yoga, pilates, swimming and exercise DVDs provide ideal low-impact options to improve joint health. Swimming is particularly good as water offers support and gentle resistance; Start slowly and make sure you get enough rest on the days you do not exercise.

As your fitness levels start to improve, change your routine or step it up to the next level.

3. Keeping Joints Healthy

People often turn to nutritional supplements to boost their health. GOPO®, a natural food supplement, has been scientifically proven to help maintain healthy joints. It comes from the seeds and husks of a wild variety of English rose-hip called Rosa canina. Scientists have discovered that it:

• Is a powerful anti-inflammatory

• Can reduce joint pain, stiffness and consumption of pain killers. In a 2005 study, 82% of patients reported a reduction in pain after three weeks of active treatment with GOPO®. In fact, their pain decreased to such an extent that 40% reduced their paracetamol intake.

• Lowers LDL-cholesterol and C-reactive protein (CRP) – both of which are markers for inflammation

• Can improve mood, energy and sleep quality.

• Is a 100% natural remedy, with no known side-effects.

As one of Britain's best known TV and radio personalities, Gloria Hunniford requires little introduction. But despite her busy life, she always takes time to look after herself. Here, she shares her health and wellbeing secrets.

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