Stiff, painful joints appear to be natural components of aging, but why accept this without some simple resistance? It is possible to age without pain.
”Feed your body, feed your soul” is a mantra often repeated. The American diet has changed drastically over the last few decades. An emphasis on nutrition and the impact food has on health has revealed interesting facts. What we eat could reduce joint pain if the right foods are chosen and made dietary staples.
Sugar and Inflammation
One of the main causes of inflammation is sugar. Hard to resist and found in almost every processed food, sugar triggers the release of cytokines, a secreted protein known to be associated with inflammatory pain.
Sugar can be identified in foods by looking for ingredients ending in “ose” such as sucrose or fructose. If you should find it difficult to remove sugar from your diet, consider the result of your efforts. Your sweet tooth will not suffer if you reach for a piece of fruit to satisfy your craving.
Fresh whole fruits not only taste good but are good for you. Rich in vitamin C, fruits have anti-inflammatory properties as effective as ibuprofen for treating joint pain. Specific fruits known for antioxidant properties are:
- Pineapple – Bromelain, a major component and similar to ibuprofen, has been shown to ease the pain of osteoarthritis. The Arthritis Foundation reports positive inflammation reduction with pineapple in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
- Berries – Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries all contain antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals needed to be healthy. Quercetin and rutin, nutrients known to block some inflammatory processes, are also present in berries.
- Grapes – A bowl of grapes satisfies the craving for sweets and lessens inflammation. Grapes may prevent the thickening of the joints associated with arthritis because of their high antioxidant levels. It is believed the reservatol in grape skin works to block the formation of rheumatoid arthritis cells.
- Tart cherry juice –Cherry juice contains a high level of antioxidants and helps to keep joints flexible. A daily drink of cherry juice appears to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and reduce inflammation.
Vegetables with anti-inflammatory properties should be included in diets as well. Dark green leafy vegetables, such as kale and spinach, are known for health benefits, including a reduction of inflammation. Spinach contains kaempferol which appears to help with rheumatoid arthritis.
Green leafy vegetables such as broccoli also contain vitamins A, C, and K. Antioxidant vitamins present in these foods destroy the free radicals associated with joint inflammation, cancer, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease.
Garlic aids the reduction of inflammation and boosts the body’s immune cells. The risks associated with heart disease and dementia have been lessened for some with the use of garlic.
Turmeric contains the compound curcumin, which aids the reduction of inflammation. Turmeric may also have the capability to protect joints from the deterioration caused by rheumatoid arthritis. Talk with your doctor about using turmeric, as it does have serious side effects if used in improper doses.
Ginger contains gingerol which seems to be effective against inflammation and joint pain. Regular consumption of ginger has been shown to reduce joint pain by as much as 40%. Ginger is used as a spice in powder form, taken as a tea, or used fresh.
Fish high in omega-3 fatty acids are always included in anti-inflammatory food lists. Omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon, sardines, mackerel, and other fatty fish decrease joint pain and stiffness. The American Heart Association has recommended two servings a week of fatty fish to be included in a healthy diet.
Aging well is not only being aware of your diet but knowing the resources to help you have a continuing quality of life. Bridge to Better Living has the resources to assist you transition into Retirement Living. Contact us today for more information about our no-cost to the client service. Bridge to Better Living is all about YOU.