Arthritis pain and stiffness can make you feel that you don’t want to move, so you find yourself sitting more and moving less. That seems like the thing to do, but it isn’t. Our joints need movement. When healthy joints move, the bones glide against one another little friction due to a layer of slick articular cartilage and slippery synovial fluid. Synovial fluid provides cushion and lubrication for the joints. When a joint is at rest, cartilage absorbs some of the synovial fluid. When the joint is in use the synovial fluid is squeezed out of the cartilage; moving our joints is essential to circulate the synovial fluid. Gently moving the joints for 10 minutes each morning will start your day off with less stiffness and can lessen pain when you continue to move throughout the day. Even if you are sitting, you can be moving your joints. Exercise that is joint friendly without impact to the joints is essential. Creating a habit of 10 minutes of Ageless Grace® practice is a great way to start your day for your body and your mind.
Food. What we put into our bodies matter. Food is indeed medicine. A basic place to start is eating more fruits, vegetables and crowding processed sugars out of your life. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition warns that processed sugars trigger the release of inflammatory messengers called cytokines. Sugar is added to many commercially prepared foods, many that you wouldn’t expect. White flour products (bread, rolls, crackers and many cereals) are refined and lack fiber. These foods fuel the production of advanced glycation end (AGE) products that stimulate inflammation.
Beyond those basics, add more Omega-3 fatty acids to your life. Omega-3s blunt inflammatory responses that may help lower the risk of arthritis, dementia, heart disease and depression. Prostaglandins are regulators of the immune system and the body’s inflammatory responses. Omega-3s help weaken inflammatory responses while Omega-6 fats increase inflammatory responses. We tend to get more Omega-6 fats in our diet due to convenience foods, and we don’t get enough Omega-3s.
Where can you find Omega-3s? Eating more fish and seafood is an excellent way to get more Omega-3 fats. The fattier the fish, the richer it is in Omega-3s. Best choices are: Wild Alaskan Salmon, Arctic Char, Sardines, Halibut, Mackerel, Tuna, Rainbow Trout, Cod, Anchovies, Oysters, Shrimp, Mussels and Crab.
Nuts and Seeds also have some Omega-3s. Walnuts have the greatest amount. Chia seeds, Flax seeds (ground or grind the whole seeds yourself) and Pumpkin (pepita) seeds also are good sources. Flax seed oil, Walnut oil and Mustard oil are also rich sources. Mustard oil can be found in Indian food stores. Try mustard oil in salads instead of olive oil. Dark leafy greens such as spinach and kale have Omega-3s; try a salad made with those greens and mustard oil for an Omega-3 punch.
Vegetables and Fruit also contain Omega-3s. The richest sources are: dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, collards and broccoli rabe. Cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, Winter squash, Berries, Mangoes and Honeydew melon. Citrus fruits due to their rich Vitamin C content, aid in collagen production which is beneficial for joint health. In fact, read my blog post on Collagen.
Get excess weight off your joints. If you are overweight and certainly if you are obese, getting at least 10% of your extra bodyweight off your joints will help tremendously. Every additional pound of excess bodyweight puts approximately 4lbs of extra stress on our joints. Less stress on your joints = less wear and tear and less pain.
In summary, rid yourself of excess weight on your joints, eat less processed sugar and commercial baked goods. Eat more vegetables and fruit especially leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables and berries. Eat more fish. Eat more walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds and pumpkin seeds. Consider taking a high-quality fish oil supplement or a vegan algae supplement. Get movement into your life and your joints every single day.
Stay HEALTHY. Be STRONG. Get AFTER It.