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What to Do About Arthritis?
With more people being afflicted with arthritis pain, and popular supplements not being effective, is there anything that can be done to combat arthritis? Research points to diet and exercise as having the potential to make a difference against this chronic disease.
Keep Moving - Activity & Exercise
- Activity, yes just moving helps protect and keep joints from stiffening.
- Exercise strengthens the muscles around the joints, protecting the joints from wearing out.
- Exercise is a vital component in balancing calories to maintain a healthy weight. The risk for knee arthritis is more than double than those individuals at a desirable weight.
The Diet/Food Connection
Making smart food choices as well as the way we prepare foods may make the difference to counter arthritis. Scientific studies show a link between food and inflammation. Inflammation is measured by an indicator, C-reactive protein (CRP). Try to keep inflammation low, here are some things to consider:
- Dietary Fiber - produce and whole grains are an excellent source of dietary fiber which may be anti-inflammatory. Aim for 28 grams of fiber each day.
- Colorful Produce - fruits and vegetables, especially those red or orange in color including carrots, bell peppers and strawberries are most strongly associated with CRP reduction.
- Omega-3 fatty acids found predominantly in fish can play a role in reducing inflammation. Eat fish more often, selecting a variety of species.
- Omega-3s vs. Omega-6s - while omega-3s decrease inflammation, omega-6s actually increase the inflammatory response. Omega-6s are found in vegetable oils as well as fried foods and processed packaged snack foods.
- Olive Oil - rich in monounsaturated fats and lower in omega-6s than other vegetable oils. This healthy oil may combat inflammation.
- Vitamin D - plays a role in reducing inflammation. This “sunshine vitamin” is in short supply. Food sources include sardines, salmon, shitake mushrooms and vitamin D fortified dairy.
- Cook Slow & Low - AGEs (advanced glycation end products) may contribute to arthritis. AGEs are formed when food is exposed to high heat, typical cooking methods such as grilling, broiling or frying.
The Bottom Line
Keep as active as possible and maintain a healthy body weight. Include plenty of colorful produce and a variety of fish in your diet. Limit oils high in omega 6’s; use modest amounts of olive oil instead. Select foods rich in Vitamin D and check your D status; ask your health care provider if you need to supplement. Choose fresh instead of highly processed foods. Poach, steam or braise foods to avoid AGEs. This will aid in managing arthritis.
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