Arthritis is a painful autoimmune disease that affects the joints. It has many different causes but most types of arthritis – from osteoarthritis to gout – is largely a result of chronic inflammation. Although genetics do play a small role in your predisposition in getting it, we all know that genes can either be turned on or off by the lifestyles we choose to live.
As a holistic nutritionist, I want to offer the following recommendations to help alleviate the pain caused by inflammation, because how you feel in your body can have a huge impact on every aspect of your life.
So here’s 7 tips to help extinguish the fire in your joints, naturally.
1. Get moving. Engage in some form of exercise that you enjoy and that isn’t causing you pain. Walking, water aerobics, swimming and yoga are great forms of exercise that don’t cause a lot of join stress (when done properly). Hiring a personal trainer to perform proper resistance training exercise is also fantastic. Trampolining has been gaining popularity over the last few years and can be great for a fun and low impact form of exercise.
2. Add antioxidants to your diet. Especially the purple and blue ones. Blueberries, cherries, blackberries, strawberries, plums, beets and heirloom purple carrots have some of the highest amount of anti-oxidants. If there’s a fruit or vegetable that’s blue or purple that I haven’t listed, it’s good too. Always consider the seasons when it comes to berries. If they’re out of season, then buy frozen as the nutritional value will be equivalent to fresh. For an extra boost, I’d recommend the following brand of a mixed berry powder supplement. Click here for more info.
3. Get queued up for Quercetin. Capers have some of the highest amounts of an anti-oxidantcalled quercetin which has been shown to decrease inflammation that leads to arthritis. Capers are great to have over wild sustainably caught salmon and recipes like these found here.
Not a fan of capers? Then try foods from the allium family of garlic, onions, chives, and shallots. However, if you’re suffering from severe cases of arthritis it might be wise to supplement with a more absorbable form of Quercetin know as Enzymatically modified isoquercitrin (EMIQ). Click here for my brand recommendation.
4. Strengthen up with Sulfur. Sulfur is a mineral that’s predominantly concentrated in the muscles, skin and bones, and a deficiency can lead to pain and inflammation in the joints. Cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale, collard greens, arugula, radishes and daikons make up
the sulfur rich cruciferous family of vegetables, and should be included in at least one to two dishes a day to keep your levels up.
5. Healthy fats to relax. Include anti-inflammatory Omega 3 rich foods like wild and sustainably caught fish (those with Gout may need to avoid high-purine fish like sardines, anchovies and Mackerel), 1 tsp cod liver oil from these brands, wild game, pastured raised animals and eggs. Other sources of great fats include avocados, extra virgin olive oil, coconut milk/oil, walnuts, purslane, chia seeds, flax seeds and grass fed butter and grass fed ghee. As for supplements, I’d also recommend Krill Oil for an extra boost of highly absorbable Omega 3’s. Check out a very trusted brand by clicking here.
6. Heal with Herbs and Spices. Ginger and turmeric have powerful anti-inflammatory properties and have been proven over and over to alleviate pain associated with arthritis and inflammation. Consider also taking a celery seed extract supplement as it inhibits an enzyme related to inflammation as well as applying a cayenne based cream topically to alleviate temporary pain. I also recommend becoming a fan of herbal teas like stinging nettle, ashwanganda or ginger tea – which all have anti-inflammatory effects.
7. Rethink your drinks. Drinking alcohol in large amounts, especially beer, is asking for a flare up. Some research suggests small amounts of red wine may be beneficial to alleviating arthritis because of resveratrol and other powerful anti-oxidants, while other sources advise avoiding it altogether and getting resveratrol from non-alcoholic sources like pomegranate juice. My suggestion? Try substituting your evening glass of wine for a herbal tea (listed above) and increase your water consumption. As you begin to eat better, the body it needs a medium to dilute all the by-products that it will release. I’d also recommend adding a 1/4 tsp of pink Himalayan sea salt to at least two glasses of your water a day for added trace minerals. (Here’s a list of the 84 minerals found in Himalayan sea salt).
If these 7 tips seem overwhelming, start with 2 or 3 that you know you can commit to and then take it from there. I’m confident that the positive changes you’ll feel in your joints will get you motivated to make even more lifestyle changes. You truly have very little to loose, and everything to gain.
Check back soon for even more tips in Part 2.