Hell yes eating a good diet is vitally important to healthy joints, and here is why,
Your body is in a continual state of cellular upkeep, cleaning up the cell bits and pieces that are broken, used, or no longer needed (waste product), and replacing them with clean, happy cells ready to get to work.
The place you get the majority of your new cells is thought the food you eat, and the fluids you drink. As you digest your food your body slowly extracts the buildings blocks its needs to conduct repair and restoration.
Your joints need building blocks to repair, and grow stronger
If you are eating a poor diet, typical of the modern western diet which is highly processed, lots of sugar, high in inflammatory saturated fats like canola oil or margarine, and eat foods which contain lots of artificial flavours chemicals and additives then you will not be supplying good quality nourishing building blocks to the cells
You joints simply don’t have the tools they need to work well, and even though it won’t happen quickly, the joints will start to suffer.
Additionally if you are eating a typical standard western diet it’s going to be choc full of foods that seem alien to your digestive system, food that your body simply doesn’t have the chemical machinery to absorb, breakdown, and use in the body, when this happens the body reacts like the food is a foreign body, and mobilises a low grade inflammation response, trying to deal with thee foods in disguise that it can’t really do anything with.
The most common examples of this include gluten and diary, which contain proteins in them that most humans don’t have the right combination of enzymes to metabolize. The gastrointestinal problems therese food types can cause for folks are well documented. Simply reducing the intake of foods which you know cause a bad reaction can make all the difference in your body and joint health.
Now if you diet is consistently crap, then over time your bodies army of healthy bacteria, whose job it is to break down the food, to help you digest it, will start to weaken. This sets up a vicious cycle of poor digestive health, poor absorption of food. Once your ability to absorb nutrients is comprised, its harder for the body to maintain the general upkeep of cells, and they gradually begin to decline in robustness and health. Combine this increase in body weight, poor biomechanical loading, lack of exercise and all of a sudden your joints begin to hurt.
Where folks go wrong when trying to fix their joint issues is in addressing one thing only, so they may start exercises, but unless they address the pro inflammatory diet, the exercise could in fact accelerate tissue degeneration as there no building blocks to repair the cells and deal with the micro inflammation of exercise. Or they address the nutrition peice, but neglect sleep and exercise. Its really a 360 degree, all around lifestyle overhaul that needs to happen to really create healthy joints, and if you think that joint surgery will magically fix your issue with a new knee or hip, what you really are doing is just prolonging the fourth deterioration of the joint as most joint replacement have a shelf life of 6 -10 years.
When the body breaks down its own tissues for resources, it’s called catabolism, like when stored sugar, or glycogen is released into the bloodstream to make fuel available for cellular work. When the body stores metabolic resources, its called Anabolism, perhaps made famous by anabolic steroids, used to grow muscle.
If the rate of Catabolism (breaking down) is greater than the rate of Anabolism (storing / building) then tissues will gradually wear down, and this is the basic mechanism of osteoarthritis, where the cartilage that sits between joints, which acts as a cushion to absorb forces, and keep bony surfaces off each other, is worn away.
Eating a healthy diet, that is rich in amino acids / collagen (proteins), minerals and vitamins (fruit and vegetables) and healthy fats (avocado, coconut oil) will go a long way in helping your body supply the joints the metabolic resources it needs to build and repair tissues. Additionally a diet which is predominantly focused on rebuilding digestive health, minimises pro inflammatory foods like saturated fats (canolla oil) and promotes tissue health will be well suited to reducing pain and inflammation in the joints.
The mindset that really helps is to think about joint health starting in your gut, what you eat can directly effect how your joints feel, and the healthier your digestive system, the more robust your skeletal system will be.