Arthritis and Diet: Beware of What You Eat!
During 2010-2012, one in five adults in the U.S. reported having doctor-diagnosed arthritis, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s very upsetting that so many people are suffering from this painful condition. The good news is that relief from joint pain may be obtained through simple modifications of the sufferer's diet.
First, let's look at some foods that are friendly to joint health:
• Fish: Omega-3 Fatty Acids are essential acids that seem to reduce inflammation and "decrease risk of arrhythmias....decrease triglyceride levels, slow the growth rate of atherosclerotic plaque and lower blood pressure (slightly)," according to the American Heart Association. But the body cannot make these acids naturally. That's where fish come in. Fish are one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids. The American Heart Association actually recommends eating two servings of fish (3.5 ounces cooked) per week. Some beneficial fish and shellfish to eat include shrimp, salmon, catfish, pollack, flounder, and crab. But some fish ought to be avoided because of high mercury levels, including shark, king mackerel, and tilefish.
• Whole Grains: In a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, CRP (C-reactive protein) levels were lowered by people who consumed more whole grains, like oatmeal and whole-wheat pastas and bread. This is significant because CRP often correlates with the amount of inflammation in a person's body. Whole grains also make it easier to manage your weight, and when you are at a healthy weight, there is less pressure on painful joints.
• Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Oleocanthal is a compound in extra virgin olive oil that hinders the production of inflammatory enzymes and chemicals in the body. One group of researchers has said that just 50 ml. (about 3½ Tbsp.) of extra virgin olive oil is equivalent to a 200-mg tablet of ibuprofen. If you plan to use extra virgin olive oil, try to use it instead of, rather than in addition to other fats; olive oil has a high calorie count.
• Colorful Produce: The color of the fruits and vegetables we eat are more meaningful than you might think. Some of the compounds that give them their color are powerful antioxidants, which are important fighters of inflammation. For more information about antioxidants, check out our previous post on The Power of Antioxidants. Eating fruits and vegetables is obviously beneficial to your body in countless other ways.
Now let's look at just a few foods that will likely make the pain of arthritis worse:
• Fried Foods: The high-calorie, high-fat foods that many Americans enjoy, like fried chicken, are not good for people with arthritis. Well, they're not particularly good for anyone, but those who suffer from arthritis ought to take special care to avoid them. Increased body fat puts more stress on joints, and the enzymes and chemicals that body fat produces can increase inflammation.
• Sugar: The regular consumption of foods containing refined sugars (e.g. candy, cake, cookies, doughnuts, etc.) can result in weight gain, which, as aforementioned, puts more pressure on joints. If you have a craving for sweetness, try to find good fresh fruit to eat.
• Oils with Omega-6 Fatty Acids: Omega-6 fatty acids are not inherently unhealthy; in fact, they serve very important bodily functions. But Americans ingest disproportionate omega-6 fatty acids relative to omega-3 fatty acids. Some omega-6 fatty acids blatantly promote inflammation. Corn oils and soybean oil are big sources of omega-6 fatty acids. Because of this, it may be beneficial to reduce consumption of processed foods and increase consumption of foods with omega-3 fatty acids.
In addition to modifying your diet, you may stand to benefit from Liquid Health™ supplements like Glucosamine, Glucosamine-V, and Opti-Glucosamine.
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