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Is your diet fighting or fueling joint pain?

· Inflammation,Joints and Arthritis,Foods

Do you have joint pain? Perhaps difficulty getting up from a chair or out of bed? Been diagnosed with arthritis or an inflammatory condition? Then this is important information you need to read! 

FOOD IS OUR FUEL, like gasoline to a car. What we put into our bodies will move you towards disease or it will move you towards health. Have you heard the saying “which dog are you feeding?” Well, the “dog” that gets fed will always win over the “dog” that gets starved. The same holds true for disease and pain. If you feed it, it will get stronger.

But what exactly is the “dog” that you’re feeding? THE REAL CULPRIT IS INFLAMMATION. Inflammation is the real cause behind virtually all pain and disease – including joint pain! When we have pain, it’s a signal from the body that something isn’t working correctly. And we become very motivated to relieve that pain. BUT what we should focus on is actually correcting the cause of the pain, not just masking it away every few hours with painkillers. Or resigning ourselves to suffer. To correct the cause of joint pain we need to go after the inflammatory process that’s likely been brewing beneath the surface of the body for years.

You might be wondering – how do we get all of this inflammation? The primary cause of inflammation is our food. That means we can use powerful nutrient products and our food to change the inflammatory processes!

It’s important to note that in addition to joint pain, chronic inflammation is also the deadly consequence of both heart disease and cancer. Heart Disease is currently responsible for every 1 in 4 deaths and in 2015, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that cancer kills 1,620 people every day.

WHAT ARE THE WARNING SIGNS THAT HIDDEN INFLAMMATION COULD BE CAUSING MY PAIN? 

  • Joint Pain and/or arthritis
  • Having an inflammatory condition (such as rheumatoid arthritis)
  • Decreased mobility (joint don’t “move well” and are stiff)
  • Difficulty getting up from a chair or out of bed
  • Digestive complaints (such as bloating or constipation)
  • Elevated cholesterol panel or heart disease
  • Sugar handling issues or diabetes
  • Skin problems (such as rashes, hives, eczema or psoriasis)

DO I FIGHT INFLAMMATION OR FEED IT? Some of these answers may surprise you! 

Here are some examples of lifestyle behaviors that promote inflammation:

  • Eating grains (such as pasta, bread, oatmeal, sandwiches, crackers)
  • Consuming sugar (fruit, stevia, honey, soda, jams, snacks, granola bars, desserts, cookies)
  • Regular dairy or yogurt use (which contains a form of sugar)
  • Alcohol use (which triggers inflammation)
  • Poor sleep habits
  • High stress levels

Here are some examples of lifestyle behaviors that are anti-inflammatory:

  • Eating leafy, dark greens daily (did you know: spinach has more calcium than milk!)
  • Using powerful anti-inflammatory nutritional supplements (like Vitamin D, Omega 3s, and others)
  • Stress-relief techniques (such as meditation or yoga) to reduce cortisol
  •  Using more “good fats” in the kitchen
  • Avoiding processed foods
  • Reducing consumption of non-organic or non-free range meat       

HOW CAN I USE NUTRITION TO FIGHT JOINT PAIN?

Avoid Grains: If you’d like to learn more about how grains affect our health, please visit www.TheBalanceDoc.com and check our blog articles! Another resource I’d recommend is the book Wheat Belly by Dr. Davis.

Assess your sleep habits: Sleep is our body’s time to heal! It’s so important for our joints because while we sleep, our discs and joints are filling with new nutrients and hydration. So what’s keeping you from attaining a good night’s sleep? Neck pain? Worrying keeping you awake? Is there something you can do to address this?

Get active: A walk around the neighborhood would be a great place to start! 

Simple Changes in the Kitchen:

-Choose eggs that are organic / free range because studies show they contain significantly more anti-inflammatory “good fats” !

-Using high quality healthy oils when cooking (such as olive oil or coconut oil)

- Drinking green tea naturally lowers inflammation

If you have health conditions or use medications, please seek the advice of a nutritional professional or Functional Medicine Physician who can help you correct disease processes by using powerful , research-proven natural products and teaching lifestyle change habits.  

Note: this article was originally published in the Chicago Senior's Guide 2015
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