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You feel what you eat
Most people’s eyes glaze over when they see the word “diet,” and frankly, the word is everywhere. Every magazine in the checkout aisle has a title that mentions diet, and every month some nutrition guru publishes a “new” diet for the ages. This extreme oversaturation causes many people to become desensitized to the idea of going on a diet altogether.
With my patients, I try to leave the 4-letter word out of our conversation and instead refer to it as a “nutrition program.” Because, whether you want to believe it or not, you feel what you eat! And if your main goal is to simply feel better (and why wouldn’t that happen), then you need to think about the foods you eat.
Inflammation: Your body says “stop!”
The old adage says “you are what you eat” but really, and mostly, you feel every bite you take in every part of your body. Certain foods can trigger an inflammatory response in your body that appears everywhere, but certainly in your joints.
Diet and arthritis
Arthritis is the most common cause of disability in the United States. According to annual estimates, approximately 46 million US adults (about 1 in 5) report having doctor-diagnosed arthritis. As the US population ages, these numbers are expected to rise sharply. In fact, the number of adults with doctor-diagnosed arthritis is expected to increase to 67 million by 2030. Common symptoms include aches, pains, stiffness and swelling in or around the joints.
Arthritis is about inflammation in the joint tissue. Living with it can be quite a challenge and finding the right cocktail of anti-inflammatory drugs can also be difficult. One thing you can do to help with pain is to eliminate certain foods that increase your body’s inflammatory response.
Foods that can aggravate and reduce arthritis:
• Foods high in saturated fat such as dairy, red meat, and cooked foods
• Sugary foods
• Refined grains such as pasta, white rice and white breads
Processed or processed foods (if it’s boxed or canned, it’s processed)
Foods that help reduce inflammation in the body:
• Vegetables and some fruits
• Grains like brown rice and bulgar wheat
• Sources of omega-3 fatty acids include fatty fish such as salmon, fish oil supplements, and walnuts.
• Lean protein sources like chicken, turkey, or beans
• Green tea
Diet and Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is the gradual deterioration of joint surfaces from overuse and repair. Over time, the wear and tear of the cartilage continues to the point where it wears thin. Symptoms include pain, stiffness and swelling in major joint areas such as the hip, knee and hands.
Although osteoarthritis is not inflammatory, a good nutritional program is key to avoiding this painful condition.
Keeping weight off is not only good for your self-image and health, it’s also good for your joints! Clinical research has shown that people who are 20 percent or more over their normal body weight have more problems with osteoarthritis. Weight-bearing joints are most affected by excess weight, especially the knees, hips, ankles and spine. Unfortunately, once joint pain sets in, a more sedentary lifestyle results, meaning more weight gain puts more stress on the joints. It is a vicious cycle. A nutritional program designed to lose weight may be in order in this situation.
When diet can’t solve everything
As mentioned earlier, some forms of arthritis do not necessarily respond to anti-inflammatory foods or medications. Being fit helps take the weight off your joints—sometimes they wear out and you need an extra boost from outside help!
Prolotherapy: Although this unique treatment is more than 50 years old, it has recently gained much interest due to its successful nature. Prolotherapy works twofold:
• Short term: Prolotherapy tightens the ligaments around the joint, which helps in immediate pain relief.
• Long-term: Prolotherapy stimulates tissue growth in the injured area, making it stronger and more viable over time.
Prolotherapy encourages the body to do what it naturally does when it’s injured: build healthy, strong, flexible ligament or tendon tissue. Unfortunately, our bodies don’t always respond the way they want and need extra stimulation to get the job done. Prolotherapy adds motivation or encouragement at the cellular level.
PRP Therapy: Platelet-rich plasma injection therapy, while not new, is raising a lot of eyebrows in the medical field as a viable technique with good results for relieving pain and healing injured and overused tendons and ligaments. A knowledgeable and trained practitioner will inject your own platelets (growth factors) from your blood into the injured area, which will stimulate the healing process and in turn reduce pain in the area.
You feel what you eat, and eating less and nutrient-enhanced foods will definitely put you on the path to feeling much better.
Suffering from chronic joint and tendon pain and want to learn more about Prolotherapy and PRP injections?
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