Nearly 50 million people suffer from arthritis in the United States alone – making it the most common chronic illness. That number is expected to exceed 67 million in the next fifteen years. Those only account for those who have had their condition diagnosed by a doctor.
Arthritis is considered a rheumatic disease that is caused by the gradual degradation of joints (typically from age or work conditions) that result in painful swelling. Other rheumatic diseases include lupus, fibromyalgia, and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), the most crippling form.
Do you have arthritis? Are you worried about getting it?
Risk Factors for Arthritis:
- Family History: Some forms run in families so your risk is higher if your parents or siblings have it. Environmental factors can trigger this disposition.
- Age: The risk of arthritis increases with age. Most cases of rheumatoid arthritis are diagnosed between 40 and 60 years of age.
- Sex: Women are more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis while men are more likely to become afflicted with gout.
- Previous Joint Injury: If you’ve experienced a joint injury due to sports or an accident, you are more likely to develop arthritis in that area.
- Obesity: Excess weight causes stress to your joints, especially your knees, hips, and spine. This creates a greater arthritis risk. 66% of adults reportedly diagnosed with arthritis are considered overweight or obese.
Arthritis Robs Patients of Their Independence
The cartilage that covers the joints is like a cushion. This tissue becomes inflamed and everyday tasks, such as walking or doing household chores, become a challenge. There are more than 100 types of arthritis but they all have three things in common: inflammation, pain, and stiffness. Arthritis literally means inflammation of one or more joints.
Inflammation is the root cause of most health problems so figuring out how to lower body-wide inflammation is the key to better health!
A whopping 50% of adults over the age of 65 have arthritis. 1 in 250 children under 18 are also afflicted with this disease. It is a debilitating condition and those who have it are never truly pain free – the pain flares and ease but never actually disappears.
The total cost attributed to arthritis and other rheumatic conditions in the U.S. each year is more than $128 billion dollars and climbing rapidly. It seems that younger and younger patients are being diagnosed these days. The average American lifestyle is inflammatory.
Nature’s Strongest Secret: Astaxanthin
Astaxanthin is one of the most powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients in the world. It isn’t widely known and is still a secret to most of the natural health community.
What is it? Astaxanthin is a supercharged antioxidant that comes from microalgae. It’s 500 times stronger than vitamin E and has powerful oxidative protection.
As part of the carotenoid family, it’s been shown to be one of the strongest antioxidants known and has many benefits for inflammation and pain relief.
Your best food sources for this valuable antioxidant are wild salmon, shrimp, trout, lobster, crabs, and crayfish. Food is always the better choice over supplements! Your body knows exactly how to process it. Astaxanthin is an excellent part of your arthritis pain prevention diet.
Free Radical Activity Causes Joint Inflammation
The link between arthritis and free radical damage is clear. Damaged cells cause pain and inflammation in many areas of your body, including your joints.
To combat oxidative stress and free radicals running around your body causing trouble you don’t need…you need antioxidants.
There is no cure but there are options such as superfoods that help with arthritis. The right combination of antioxidants can manage and even eliminate the pain associated with the degenerative disease. Studies have shown that certain antioxidants are as efficient as pharmaceutical drugs when it comes to controlling the pain and inflammation caused by arthritis.
Occupational hazards and infections are also risk factors for arthritis. Most people will experience some form of arthritis as they age unless they take measures to prevent it.
Keep arthritis under control with antioxidants!
It seems we can’t go to the doctor anymore without leaving with a prescription. During acute arthritis crisis, doctors prescribe powerful painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs to alleviate discomfort.
Many of the common drugs prescribed are expensive and have harsh side effects. The medications may minimize symptoms but you run the risk of skin rashes, fluid retention, elevated liver enzymes, ulcers, an increased risk of heart disease, and gastrointestinal bleeding.
Traditional medicine…where the “cures” are often as bad (or worse) as the original condition.
The secret to arthritis relief (and living a pain-free life) may be as simple as changing some of the foods you eat on a regular basis. Adding some good ones and removing others.
Can it really be so easy? Yes.
Fortunately, there are antioxidants that are as efficient as pharmaceutical drugs in blocking inflammation from sensitive joints. They can even slow or reverse the progression of the disease and rebuild cartridge.
All without the dangerous side effects.
A scientific study conducted at University of Manchester (United Kingdom), in 2005, showed that a diet rich in vitamin C, vitamin E, and carotenoids is very efficient in preventing arthritis. Even if arthritis has already progressed, a few doses of vitamin C and vitamin E will reduce inflammation and pain as quickly and efficiently as pharmaceutical drugs.
Wouldn’t you rather use food anyway? It truly is possible to eat your way to better health!
Essential Foods that Ease Arthritis Pain and Protect Joints
Adopting the right diet before the first signs of arthritis show up will allow you keep an active lifestyle throughout the years. The suggestions below for “best sources” are foods that are commonly found in local markets around the world.
• Vitamin C fights the molecules that trigger rheumatoid inflammation. The consumption of fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C prevent rheumatoid arthritis attacks. In addition, low levels of vitamin C can cause blood vessels to leak in the joints, making the arthritic pain and inflammation worse.
The best sources are papaya, sweet potatoes, bell peppers, broccoli, berries, pineapple, parsley, melons, and citrus.
• Vitamin E helps in controlling arthritis symptoms: pain and inflammation, and provides a safe way to control the disease. People suffering from arthritis report that vitamin E supplements are more efficient than anti-inflammatory pharmaceutical drugs and provide a major improvement of arthritis symptoms within a day.
The best sources are sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach, sweet potatoes, avocado, and assorted greens.
• Selenium is a mineral and antioxidant essential for the health or your joints and bones. Selenium delays the oxidation of polyunsaturated fatty acids and preserves the elasticity of the tissues. Low levels of selenium are related with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
The best sources are tuna, shrimp, sardines, wild salmon, Brewer’s yeast, garlic, and sunflower seeds.
• Carotenes, especially beta-cryptoxanthin, are powerful anti-inflammatory agents, thus preventing and keeping under control inflammatory disorders, such as arthritis.
The best sources are lemons, carrots, butternut squash, yellow peppers, mangos, oranges, apricots, cantaloupes, pumpkins, papayas, and grapefruits.
• Bioflavonoids are powerful natural antioxidants, known for their anti-inflammatory properties. Studies showed that two bioflavonoids – anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins – are more efficient than pharmaceutical drugs when it comes to reducing pain and inflammation.
The best sources are berries, bananas, pears, cabbage, plums, and garbanzo beans.
• Glutathione (GSH) is a super antioxidant essential for maintaining intracellular health, for preventing and reducing inflammation in the joints.
The best sources are cumin, garlic, onions, broccoli, avocados, bananas, and tomatoes.
• Polyphenols, especially procyanidin, are known to exert anti-inflammatory, anti-arthritic, and anti-allergic activities. They are a key component for bones and tissue – it’s easy to understand why they are crucial when it comes to fighting arthritis.
• Vitamin D is famous for being the vitamin of healthy bones and joints. Normal levels of vitamin D in your body can protect you from developing arthritis in the first place.
Safe and responsible exposure to the sun is the greatest source of this critical vitamin. Ten minutes in the early morning or late afternoon in sunlight with the skin of your hands and face exposed will give you all the vitamin D your body requires. However, if you have sun sensitivity or live in cold climates where sun exposure isn’t possible, you need alternatives.
The best food sources of vitamin D are wild salmon, sardines, shrimp, tuna, cow’s milk, eggs, and shitake mushrooms.
• Omega 3 fatty acids reduce the painful symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and decrease inflammation by suppressing the production of cytokines.
The best sources are flaxseeds, walnuts, sardines, wild salmon, beef, cauliflower, and Brussel sprouts.
• B vitamins, especially folic acid or folate (when in food), help reduce the pain associated with arthritis.
The best sources are lentils, bananas, pinto beans, asparagus, spinach, turnip greens, and broccoli.
• Glucosamine and chondroitin are the building blocks of cartilage – the substance that lines your joints and reduces painful inflammation.
The best sources are shrimp, lobster, crab, parsley, spinach, and chlorella (see below).
True Superfoods that Help with Arthritis
The three superfoods we’re going to go over now are considered some of the best in the world in regards to treating arthritis. They are unlikely to be available in a standard market but you should be able to find them in your local health food store. They’re worth searching for or buying online from a quality supplier.
These are “healing” foods packed with antioxidants that will manage your symptoms and guard your body against cellular degeneration that leads to arthritis.
• Spirulina: Considered one of the most nutrient-dense foods in the world, spirulina is blue green algae rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, and carotenoids. It contains B-complex vitamins, beta-carotene, vitamin E, manganese, zinc, copper, iron, selenium, and gamma linolenic acid (an essential fatty acid).
Buying from a reputable source is crucial to prevent getting inferior product. It has powerful anti-viral, anti-cancer, and anti-inflammatory benefit, boosts the immune system, and protects against allergens. Adding to your morning green smoothie will boost your energy levels all day!
• Chlorella: Also a blue green algae, chlorella is packed with nutrition and powerful anti-inflammatory compounds such as chlorophyll. It has shown incredible promise in the treatment of arthritis, fibromyalgia, and lowering the overall acidity in the body.
Beneficial to every cell in your body, chlorella improves metabolism, increases energy, naturally detoxifies the body, and helps to stabilize blood sugar and blood pressure levels. Another great addition to a morning health shake (and yes, you have time to make one)!
• Emu Oil: This secret of Australian Aborigines is full of omega-3s and contains essential fatty acids known for their anti-inflammatory effects.
Researchers discovered that patient swelling caused by inflammation reacted immediately to topically applied emu oil. It is being studied in regards to treating bedsores and thinning skin due to age, infection, or burns.
It’s used as a natural topical treatment from people all around the world because it is one of the few oils that mimics human skin fatty acids. This is not the right choice for those who follow a vegan lifestyle. In many areas of the world, emus are raised for meat just as cows and chickens are in the United States. The oil isn’t wasted.
Bad Snacks and Treats that Aggravate Arthritis Pain
Just as there are foods that improve your arthritis symptoms, there are foods and snacks that make your arthritis pain much worse. Here is a quick list of highly inflammatory refined carbs, sugar, trans fats, and additives to avoid:
• Fried or fast foods (including “healthy” salads from fast food restaurants). No matter what you’re working to improve, you already know that if you can get it through 90% of the drive-through restaurants, chances are it isn’t healthy for you.
• Condiments (ketchup, mayonnaise, and the rest), commercial salad dressings, and dips are filled with trans fats, sugar, preservatives, and all kinds of chemicals you can’t pronounce. With a little bit of time and a few ingredients, you can easily make your own at home. They’ll be fresher, more delicious, and healthy!
• Refined carbs – anything with white flour or white sugar – such as processed white bread, “meal in a box” foods, snack cakes and doughnuts, white rice, crackers, , and boxed cereals (to name a few) contain bleached ingredients at their base. What is added to them from there only gets worse. Dyes, high fructose corn syrup, chemicals, and salt make these foods high in calories, low in nutrition, and inflammatory.
As a general rule, stay away from white sugars, white flours, and white starches while adding as many “fresh” and “natural” foods to your meal plan. Anything that is pre-prepared for you, those “easy” meals found in most stores, is just plain bad for you.
The fat, sugar, salt, and chemical content may make them look and taste “good” but you won’t believe how different food will taste when you start eating good stuff your body needs.
If you don’t know how to cook, there are (literally) thousands of ways for you to learn to prepare simple and delicious meals.
With the options on the internet for recipes, tutorials, and forums packed with “foodies,” you’ll be whipping up food your body will thank you for in no time!
Lessen Painful Arthritis Inflammation
Choose vibrant colors in your produce, eat more seeds and nuts, drink plenty of water, and consume more “fatty” fish to help keep arthritis under control.
Chronic joint pain robs you of your quality of life.
A diet consisting of superfoods that help with arthritis, regular exercise, maintaining mental focus, and being careful not to allow stress to flood your life are natural steps to controlling inflammation and managing pain – possibly preventing the development of rheumatic disease in the first place.
Side Effects of Lowering Inflammation (Naturally)
- Mental, physical, and emotional clarity
- More efficient digestive system
- A powerful immune system
- Stronger cardiovascular system
- Clearer, healthier skin
- Bones, joints, and muscles that don’t ache
Inflammation is the source behind chronic pain, mental disorders, diabetes, heart disease, thyroid conditions, neurodegenerative diseases, and cancer. You don’t have to let it control your life.
Let food be your medicine rather than the expensive, dangerous anti-arthritis medication. Every cell inside you will breathe a sigh of relief.
Natural pain relief…available at your local grocer.