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Weight: 80kg / 176 pounds
Height: ~192cm / 6 foot 4
Age: 19

I am trying to improve my bone/joint structure and am worried that due to an insufficient diet, it's an uphill jog. I am asking for advice on improving my diet.

I became athletic at the age of 15, and haven't let myself go since. I have done martial-arts, swimming and rugby. For the past two years, I've been mostly working out on my own, doing resistance training, trying to improve antagonist muscle balance, some interval running and cardio. Overall, I prioritize ligament strength and joint stability/safety over muscle strength (if that makes sense) and body weight.

On to my diet: mostly (80%+) carbs in the form of grains(a wide variety), occasionally pasta. Olive oil everywhere. Very little meat or fish: 3-5 meals a month; I somewhat ignore other protein sources other than grain. Little vegetables during the winter time, mostly: onions, hot peppers, garlic, more variety there during summer. Minimum 1l of water daily. Don't abuse alcohol or cigarettes.

I am strict and conservative with my choice of foods, I don't consume conservatives, and mostly stick to minimally processed products. Cooking is somewhat of a passion of mine. If I set my mind to a particular mode of nutrition, I can keep it. So I'd like to learn the following: what nutrition fosters joint health? Or maybe you have comments on my mode of nutrition in general?

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A general advice on your diet would be to add fruit, vegetables and other protein sources, as you really seem to be lacking those. For your joint problems however, please see a doctor. –  Baarn Feb 6 '13 at 9:29
    
I edited your question and removed the questionable health part. Feel free to revert the changes or edit it again. –  Baarn Feb 6 '13 at 9:33
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@Informaficker, I feel that my question relates to exercise and fitness very well. I am seeking advice on nutrition that would support my exercise goals. However, I agree that me mentioning my minor health problems might offset some, but I reasoned that these details might help give a better informed advice. I will not be reverting the edit. –  Dominykas Mostauskis Feb 6 '13 at 9:52
    
I was mainly concerned about the health part, in its current form I am OK with the question. –  Baarn Feb 6 '13 at 10:02
    
@tsykora please don't simply go to wikipedia and copy their content without attribution. See Meta on Wikipedia Plagiarism. –  Baarn Jun 27 '13 at 16:52
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2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

As for the joint health part - why exactly are you trying to improve it? If youre experiencing joint pain or other similar problems, self medication and simple self-perscribed diet fixes are not the way to go. You should simply go see a doctor.

If youre just wanting to have a healthier diet, you may try to include some gelatin. It is said that gelatin may positively affect your joints - there were some studies that i cant find right now, but they were inconclusive. The gelatin eating group improved their joint health compared to the placebo control group, but the positive effects may have came from increased vitamin c intake for the gelatin group.

As for the rest of your diet, since you say its mostly grains + olive oil, im not quite sure youre getting all the necessary aminoacids in your food (the ones that cant be produced by the human body), also i suspect that you might not eat enough protein in general. Could you estimate your daily protein intake in grams? Considering your height, weight and the fact that you say youre doing resistance training for quite some time now, I'd say you should weigh a little more. Are you "skinny"? If so, it might be because youre not eating enough protein.

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As to my weight, I've been training for the past year less intensely, I've lost 4 kg during the last few months; generally, I'm trying to steer away from bulking up and focus on overall balance. As for protein intake, it's about 18-25g a day from grain foods. I will look up aminoacids, cheers. –  Dominykas Mostauskis Feb 6 '13 at 14:06
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Im afraid thats not enough protein. The recommended amount is around 50g daily, and people doing resistance training should aim at 1g per 1kg of body mass, in Your case - around 80g. These are only approximations, it also depends on the type and intensity of your training sessions, and what you are trying to achieve. If you wanted to bulk up, you might need eat even more protein. –  K.L. Feb 6 '13 at 14:26
    
Some articles recommend up to 1g/1lbs protein in your diet –  K.L. Feb 6 '13 at 14:36
    
Here's a link to wikipedia for the amino acids i was talking about: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proteinogenic_amino_acid –  K.L. Feb 6 '13 at 14:59
    
Thanks for the info! –  Dominykas Mostauskis Feb 6 '13 at 16:58
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Your bones are primarily responsible for storing calcium and phosphorous. Almost 100% of the stored calcium in your body is in your bones, and somewhere around 85% of the phosphorous is stored there.

When you have deficiencies in your diet in these minerals, then the body releases hormones that cause the bones to give up their calcium for use elsewhere in the body. Over time, if the deficiency persists, then you start getting problems, such as rickets (soft bones caused by a deficiency in Vitamin D, calcium and/or phosphorous. As an aside, sailors away from fresh fruit used to get this quite often, so the British started using limes to combat this. Hence the term "Limeys" for British people).

Fruits, vegetables and fortified milk are good sources to replenish this. And, as has been pointed out already, you are probably also deficient in protein intake to some extent, as you appear not to eat even a normal RDA, as opposed to an athletes need, but without a detailed diet list that would be hard to assess.

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Very helpful answer, thanks! –  Dominykas Mostauskis Feb 6 '13 at 16:58
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