According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 21 million Americans suffer from some type of arthritis pain. The most common form, osteoarthritis, is a degenerative joint disease that impacts middle-aged and older adults most often. It involves the breakdown of joint cartilage and is a chronic, often debilitating, disease.
Arthritis is the inflammation of joints and can be connected with more than 100 different diseases that are associated with stiffness, swelling and pain. It can impact other body structures like bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons. Even though arthritis can occur in any joint of the body, it most specifically impacts knees, hands, hips and the spine.
If you or someone you know suffers from arthritis, there are ways to manage the disease. From proper exercise to changes in diet, there are many things that you can do each day to help manage pain associated with arthritis. First, make sure that you are performing the right type of exercise. First, you will want to find exercises that help build muscle strength and prevent stress to your joints. Exercises that promote increased range of motion, overall fitness, cardiovascular condition and weight-management are suggested.
Did you know that exercise weight that causes stress on your joints may be contributing to your arthritis? Research has found a distinct connection between osteoarthritis and obesity. This is especially true of those suffering from knee and hip pain.
When it comes to diet, there are certain food that can help control the symptoms associated with arthritis. By reducing fat and cholesterol intake, losing weight and eating a more balanced diet, you can significantly improve the symptoms associated with arthritis.
Healthy food associated with arthritis pain relief
- Food rich in Omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3 fatty acids work to decrease inflammation by suppressing chemicals within the body that naturally erode cartilage. These oils may be found naturally in fish but can also be taken as a supplement. Those who take omega-3 fatty acids have also been known to have less fatigue, improved strength, and less joint swelling and tenderness.
- Extra virgin olive oil: Cooking with extra virgin olive oils instead of butter or vegetable oil can help reduce arthritis inflammation. It can also help improve weight loss.
- Antioxidant-rich food: Antioxidants help protect the body and can prevent and slow the progression of arthritic pain.
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C helps produce and maintain healthy collagen, an important component of cartilage. It’s important to maintain a diet rich with Vitamin C and other nutrients. Some of the best Vitamin C-rich food include: oranges, grapefruit, pineapple, strawberries, papayas, lemons, broccoli, kiwi, cantaloupe, red cabbage, and cauliflower.
- Bioflavonoids: Bioflavonoid-rich food are considered anti-inflammatory in nature, and help offset the pain and damage associated with arthritis. Here are some examples of food rich in bioflavonoids: apricots, apples, elderberries, broccoli, and blueberries.
When it comes to arthritis, it’s important to start thinking early. Make sure that you are exercising daily, maintaining a healthy diet and talking to your doctor about your risks and ways of reducing your chances of developing arthritis. If you currently suffer from arthritis, talk to your doctor about how diet and exercise may help improve your symptoms. Remember that medication may not be the most effective way of treating your symptoms. Studies indicate that even losing 10 pounds can significantly reduce the joint pain associated with this condition. Always remember to talk to a physician before making significant adjustments to your diet or exercise regimen. Only a doctor will be able to determine if you are healthy enough for certain physical activity.
Word on Exercising
Light exercises will be beneficial for your joints. As mentioned above, make sure your doctor has given you prior clearance on the type of exercise routines that would be convenient for you. Squatting for example should be an appropriate exercise, as it involves functional movements that help you accomplish many daily activities, such as reaching down to pick something off the floor. Most importantly, squatting also help build strength in your hips and legs, translating into much more stable joints. Below is an example of a squat exercise with a light-weight dumbbell.