Do you suffer from Arthritis Pain, chronic joint pain, stiffness and swelling? You’re not alone! Over 4.6 million or 1 in 6 Canadians over the age of 15 report suffering from arthritis. And this number is expected to grow to 7.5 million or 1 in 5 by the year 2036. Arthritis literally means inflammation of the joint and refers to over 100 related conditions including: tendonitis, bursitis, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. The common thread linking all of these conditions is joint pain, which is often caused by inflammation of the joint lining.
Inflammation can be chronic or acute. Acute inflammation is the body’s normal response to help heal a new injury. Chronic inflammation on the other hand, often indicates a problem and not only contributes to arthritis but can increase your risk of other serious health issues like: heart disease, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s, food intolerance, diabetes, and fibromyalgia. Chronic inflammation also accelerates the aging process!
Many people suffer from chronic inflammation due our modern diet and lifestyle. Processed foods, caffeine, stress, environmental toxins, and pollution can all contribute to chronic inflammation. When we experience pain, we often reach for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as:
- Ibuprofen (brand name: Advil, Motrin)
- Naproxen (brand name: Aleve, Naproxen)
- COX-2 Inhibitors (brand name: Celebrex)While medication may temporarily help reduce symptoms, it does nothing to address the cause of your pain and inflammation. There are also risks and side effects associated with prolonged use of NSAIDs such as: kidney damage, and stomach issues. Studies show that prescription NSAIDs like Celebrex can also increase the risk of heart attack or stroke.
The good news is there are natural ways to fight chronic inflammation and restore balance in your body. Try to include more of these anti-inflammatory foods in your diet:
- Fresh Whole Foods (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds)
- Omega 3 Fats (wild salmon, flaxseeds, walnuts, extra virgin olive oil)
- Green Tea
- Herbs (basil, chili peppers, curcumin, turmeric, ginger, parsley, rosemary and thyme)
To reduce inflammation, reduce or avoid the following foods:
- Processed, packaged and prepared foods
- Hydrogenated and Trans fats (found in margarine, shortening, lard or products made with them including commercially baked good)
- Smoking, Caffeine and Alcohol
- Fried Foods (eg. French fries, potato chips, hamburgers etc0
- White sugar and sweets including soft drinks and sweetened juices
- Synthetic sweeteners (eg. aspartame, Splenda, Nutrasweet)
- Red meat
- Dairy products
- Wheat products and other gluten containing grains
Natural supplements are a safe and effective alternative to prescription and over the counter medications. Always choose a high quality supplement from a reputable source. Some of the best options for reducing inflammation are:
- High quality Omega 3 EPA and DHA supplement. Omega 3 fatty acids are a precursor to prostaglandins, which regulate inflammation in the body.
- Vitamin D works through a variety of mechanisms to reduce pain and inflammation.
- Woebenzym® is a natural enzyme supplement that helps reduce chronic pain, inflammation and speeds up the recovery process. A natural approach may take a little more time and effort but your health is worth it! Experiment with the strategies above to see which ones work best for you. Be sure to share your success stories in the comment section below. I’d love to hear from you! As always, feel free to share this blog with anyone you know who might be suffering from arthritis and chronic inflammation.