Anti-Inflammatory Diet To Help Combat Arthritis
In this blog, I’ll provide dietary tips to help protect you from arthritis, a condition characterized by inflamed, stiff or painful joints.
Arthritis is a big deal! As the leading cause of disability among adults in the U.S., arthritis related medical expenses and earnings losses total over 300 billion dollars per year!
There are more than 100 types of arthritis impacting:
- 30% of people aged 18-64
- 50% of men age 65 and older
- 67% of women 65 and older
Having arthritis means more than being uncomfortable. It skyrockets your risk for developing a serious health condition like heart disease or diabetes.
The most effective thing you can do to combat any type of arthritis is to eat an anti-inflammatory diet.
What’s an Anti-inflammatory Diet?
Many factors can cause arthritis, including the declining ability to make certain joint supporting compounds as you age. Certain foods and substances can create inflammation in the body and also lead to arthritis.
By reducing these inflammatory responses, you can improve, or prevent arthritis altogether. This is exactly what an anti-inflammatory diet does! It also supports blood sugar levels, weight control, and reduces your risk for chronic disease. This type of diet is appropriate, and highly recommended, for EVERYONE!
The Anti-inflammatory Diet Champions…
1) Omega-3 fatty acids
If there were a king of the anti-inflammatory diet, omega 3s would be it!
Healthy animal omega-3 sources:
- wild caught salmon
- lake trout
- skipjack tuna*
- grass fed beef
- pasture raised eggs
*Skipjack tuna is most commonly found as canned tuna and often called “chunk light.” This is a better choice than “albacore” because it contains a lot less mercury.
With so many health benefits, omega 3 (derived from fish) is considered one of the most important nutrients! But let’s face it, fatty fish doesn’t make it on the dinner plate as often as it should. This is why I highly suggest taking a high-quality Omega-3 supplement. It’s extremely important to get the right ratio of the fatty acids, EPA and DHA.
Healthy plant omega-3 sources:
- chia/flax/hemp seeds
- Brussels sprouts
2) Sulfur-rich foods
This mineral is so important for joint and overall health.
Sulfur helps make the joint repairing compounds glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM. It also helps your body absorb other anti-inflammatory nutrients such as vitamin C, D, E, and CoQ10.
Healthy sulfur containing foods:
Joint health relies on this protein.
Collagen production begins to decline at just age 25. By age 60, you can have less than 50%! This has a lot to do with why skin sags with age.
Bone broth is full of collagen and sulfur compounds to ease arthritic symptoms and rebuild tissue. Try to incorporate this into your diet at least once per week. You can also use a collagen supplement.
As I always recommend, be sure to eat lots of vegetables and small amounts of low glycemic fruit. Their antioxidants will fight oxidative stress, which is one cause of cartilage breakdown. Vegetables and fruits will also give your body enzymes that reduce inflammation.
Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric and is considered one of the most powerful natural anti-inflammatories in the world. Want to know more about the incredible powers of turmeric? Here is some great info: The Amazing Health Benefits of Turmeric
Boswellia is also known as Indian frankincense. This herbal extract derived from the boswellia tree has the ability to reduce arthritic pain. It does this by interfering with inflammatory responses and supporting overall immune function.
Exercise Boosts Joint Health …and Mood too!
Staying active is an essential part of an arthritis treatment plan. In conjunction with an anti-inflammatory diet, exercise could save you from an unnecessary joint replacement surgery.
Exercise strengthens the muscles around your joints which reduces strain and provides added support. Regular movement also lowers inflammation, so be sure to exercise at least every other day!
As an added bonus, exercise improves mental health, which is often compromised with chronic pain or the loss of being able do activities.
What is NOT Part of an Anti-inflammatory Diet?
Just as important as consuming anti-inflammatory foods, is avoiding pro-inflammatory ones.
Do your best to reduce or completely eliminate:
- refined carbs
- processed foods
- sodas, juices, energy drinks
Learn more about hidden sources of sugar here.
2) Chemicals – found in processed foods
- artificial sweeteners
3) Hydrogenated oils/trans-fat – found in vegetable oils, fake butter and margarine
Although once promoted as “healthy”, they’re high in omega-6 fatty acids that promote inflammation. Learn what oils are healthy and which ones to stay far away from: Healthiest and Unhealthiest Types of Cooking Oils
An anti-inflammatory diet is your best line of defense when it comes to reducing chronic pain and your overall risk for disease. If you want to achieve optimum health, make this diet a lifestyle that includes physical activity too!
These dietary changes can drastically reduce the inflammation and pain of arthritis, while at the same time, provide nutrition that makes for happy, functioning joints and tissues.
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