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FAQ - Stiff muscles and joints after gardening

By Jenny Bodenham BA (Hons) DipION MBANT

Expert nutritionists share their frequently asked questions…

Q - "I like to keep active and enjoy gardening when the weather permints, but my muscles and joints are very stiff and sore for a few days after. I was wondering what you could suggest to help?"

A - Keeping active is important both for physical and mental well-being. It can, however, be easy to get carried away with gardening, so take regular breaks and don’t overdo it! Muscle pain can result from inflammation, so eat plenty of foods to promote anti-inflammatory pathways, such as oily fish, walnuts, flax seeds and pumpkin seeds. Include plenty of brightly-coloured fruits and vegetables, which are packed with anti-oxidants to combat free-radical activity. High-fat meats and sugary foods are pro-inflammatory and should be avoided. Plants such as devil’s claw have anti-inflammatory properties and may help to maintain comfortable joints. Devil’s claw has traditionally been used for the relief of general aches and pains in the muscles and joints, as well as backache and rheumatic pain, so may be beneficial. Additionally, MSM helps to maintain the permeability of the cells and support healthy, flexible joints and muscles. Dehydration can contribute to muscle soreness, so drink plenty of healthy fluids, such as vegetable juices, water and herb teas, particularly cat’s claw, which contains antioxidants. Glucosamine and collagen may have beneficial effects on cartilage, which acts as a shock absorber and protects the joints from friction. Following strenuous activity, nothing soothes like a warm bath! Heat increases the circulation and relaxes tired, aching limbs. Adding mineral salts to the bath provides additional benefits by cleansing and detoxifying the body. MSM can also be applied to tired and sore muscles in the form of a muscle balm or cream.

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