Arthritis is basically inflammation of a joint, usually accompanied by swelling, stiffness, and pain. It can be caused by a variety of things including infection, degenerative changes, trauma, injury, or metabolic disturbances. While there are more than 100 different types of arthritis, osteoarthritis—wear and tear on the joints—is the most common.
When cartilage in the joints wears down, you’re left with just bone rubbing on bone. And that hurts. Any joint can be affected; though it’s common in the knees, arthritis can also affect hips, neck, lower spine, hands and feet. About two-thirds of all folks over the age of 65 have physical signs that you can see on an X-Ray, even if they have no symptoms.
Fortunately, there are many natural ways to combat arthritis and its symptoms. Foods that are rich in natural anti-inflammatory, such as apples and onions, are the go-to menu items for pain. There are also anti-inflammatory nutrients such as omega-3s; natural pain relievers, such as Curamin; and supplements that may help specifically with arthritis such as glucosamine and chondroitin.
Omega-3 fatty acids are some of the most anti-inflammatory molecules on the planet. But omega-6s—the fats found in vegetable oils, have an opposite inflammatory effect. Your body actually needs both, but they have to be in balance for optimum health.
The problem with the modern diets is that the ratio of omega-6 (inflammatory) to omega-3 (anti-inflammatory) is about 20:1. So in order to reduce inflammation, it’s important to cut back on your intake of omega-6 which is found in almost all processed foods, as well as in corn, sunflower, safflower, canola, and other commercial processed vegetable oils.
Of course, you also need to boost your intake of anti-inflammatory omega-3s. Cold-water fish such as wild salmon are loaded with them. So it’s a good idea to incorporate more fish into your diet. You can also supplement with fish oil or flax oil.
Foods That Tame Inflammation:
Apples and red onions are packed with the anti-inflammatory compound quercetin, while tart cherry extract—as well cherry juice and dark cherries is high in anti-inflammatory compounds called anthoyanins. Studies at Michigan State University show that tart cherry extract stops the formation of some inflammatory agents about 10 times as effective as asprin.
Blueberries have also been shown to fight inflammation and protect against oxidation. And cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts, should be a part of every anti-inflammatory diet. They contain indols, plant chemicals that are powerful anti-inflammatories.
One supplement that really works for arthritis pain is Curamin by Terry naturally. This blend of agents found in the spice turmeric is made with four ingredients known to be effective for pain: a speial kind of super-absorbable curcumin called BCM-95, a standardized boswellia extract known as BosPure, dl-phenylalanine, and nattokinase. Best of all, it works to relieve pain within one hour.
There are two other supplements that I’d recommend specifically for arthritis: glucosamine sulfate and Chondroitin. Glucosamine is a basic building block of our connective tissue. Although we have an ample amount of the stuff when we are young, we lose some as we age, causing a thinning of artilage that often leads to osteoarthritis. Though glucosamine can’t bring cartilage back, it can help prevent further loss, as well as reduce symptoms such as pain, swelling and joint stiffness.
Chondroitin sulfate is a building block of connective tissue that stimulates cartilage cells. It works beautifully when paired with glucosamine to speed regeneration and recovery. Studies have shown that glucosamine and/or chondroitin can help repair damage caused by osteoarthritis. For example, the Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Rheumatology in 2005 reported that the combination of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate is at least as effective as the drug Celebrex in treating osteoarthritis pain.
The best studies used 1,500mg of glucosamine a day, though many like the idea of loading up on 3,000mg a day for a month and then dropping down to 1,500. Pair it with chondroitin at around half of the dose.
Remember, natural solutions—foods and supplements—work synergistically and may take some time to take effect. So it’s important to follow the recommendations above consistently, and give them some time to work—and then you’ll be sure to get some relief!