Eating for Arthritis Pain
Around 50% of the over 50’s suffer with an arthritis pain related health disorder. This arthritis pain is mostly due to inflammatory conditions that can be part of normal ‘wear and tear’ of life.
People can also suffer because of an imbalance in other parts of the body’s system.
Whatever the cause, it is important to find pain relief and prevent further degeneration of joints and muscles.
Photos on this page provided by Paul Mattock
Initially a patient can follow the traditional treatment of painkillers for arthritis pain relief combined with a balanced programme of exercise and rest.
It is also possible to support the body with a nutritional approach to include anti-inflammatory foods, utilise proven supplements and eliminate trigger [or allergenic] foods that can provoke pain.
Many of my clients have arthritis and this is the advice that I give them:
Introduce anti-inflammatory and supportive foods.
This includes cleansing foods, herbs and spices. I recommend my clients eat regularly the following: fresh pineapple (which contains bromelain), raw nuts, most fresh fruit, turmeric, oily fish (for example salmon), flax and sunflower seeds, most root veg, cinnamon, papaya and mango.
To these I also suggest they take wholegrains and fresh leafy greens and use generous amounts of olive oil when taking salad or for light cooking.
Chillies and other peppers can be added for spice and are very good anti-oxidant sources.
Eliminate "trigger" foods.
This will vary from person to person, for example, if one person has a problem with wheat products it doesn't mean that all arthritic sufferers will.
Some potential foods that could cause problems are: dairy and soya products, alcohol, wheat, tomatoes, processed meats, sugar, potatoes and coffee.
You can see that some of the supportive foods can also be trigger foods which stresses the importance of finding out which foods could be a problem for you.
Please don’t get rid of all potential trigger foods as this could compromise your nutritional intake and cause further health problems.
If you do have to eliminate some foods I would advise that you consult a nutritionist to ensure that you are still receiving a balanced intake of essential nutrients.
It is also very important to reduce intake of other problem foods such as saturated, trans and hydrogenated fats, excess salt, refined sugar, caffeine and most food additives and colorants.
Your diet should consist of mostly fresh ingredients with small amounts of good quality animal protein with a large proportion of fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains and ‘good fats’.
Exercise with discretion.
It is important to achieve a balance between rest and exercise so working out a moderate intensity exercise programme and pacing yourself during daily activities is important.
Sam, my Border Collie, has bags of energy so he needs a couple of good walks daily, as well as good runs at the weekend.
On a good day I can do a couple of miles which is excellent for us both, but on painful days or in inclement weather it might only be a couple of hundred metres up the lane and back – but it all counts.
All walking is good so don’t discount the walking you do around the supermarket or in the house when doing housework. Find out how much you can do before you feel you have to rest.
Plan activities that you can do sitting down such as sewing, embroidery, craftwork, drawing, painting, reading, letter writing etc.
This way you won’t feel that there are things you ‘can’t do’, you are just altering the way you structure them into your daily routine.
We know from research that many arthritis sufferers are short or even have deficiencies in certain vitamins and minerals, namely Beta-carotene [vitamin A], Copper, Selenium, Vitamins C and E and Zinc.
Almost all of these are obtained from a sensibly varied and balanced diet and if you are in any doubt then a high potency multi-vit and mineral capsule will help.
There are also many supplements available that support joints and muscles and help to reduce inflammation.
I always recommend a regular supplement regime to help support clients whilst they are trying to adapt their diet and those that have proven most effective are:
Glucosamine, Chondroitin and MSM combination:
Supports pain relief, joint stiffness and flexibility
Quercetin This is a highly effective anti-inflammatory compound and is included in some Glucosamine supplements
Turmeric – this popular Indian spice helps reduce inflammation, pain and stiffness – start experimenting with Asian spices in your daily menus – not all curry spices and chilli powders blow your head off!
Bromelain – found in fresh pineapple and papaya this also acts as a digestive aid
Omega 3 Fish Oils – if you are vegetarian then Flax or Hemp Oil, Starflower or Oil of Evening Primrose are good alternatives and help to support the nervous and circulatory systems as well.
It might seem like you might be taking a lot of supplements but most of these are available in combinations.
It is also essential that you adjust your diet to obtain the essential nutrients from your food first and then from supplements.
Eventually you should be able to drop down to a maintenance supplement regime or introduce specifics to target other problems.
Very important –LOSE WEIGHT – especially if you are carrying excess pounds that will be putting unnecessary pressure and stress on your whole body.
Weight loss is easily achievable by reducing portions, eliminating sugar and excess carbohydrates, eliminating bad fats and using up excess calories with regular exercise.
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Return to Anglesey Today from Arthritis Pain