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Arthritis Explained: Part 2 Nutrition


In the first part of my arthritis special, we looked at the types of arthritis and discussed what is going on inside the body to cause this painful and debilitating condition. We also looked at some of the important lifestyle factors that need to be addressed in order to prevent or reverse arthritis.


In Part 2, we are going to talk about specific nutrition advice that I offer in my nutritional therapy clinics. Making these simple adjustments to your diet could make all the difference to your joint issues, now and in the future.

Foods to avoid

For a person already suffering from arthritis, there are certain foods that are likely to aggravate the condition. Foods that you should reduce or preferably cut out completely are:

  • Sugar, gluten and refined carbohydrates, including pasta, bagels, muffins, biscuits, cakes, white bread etc. These fast-burning carbs quickly break down into sugar in the body, driving inflammation and causing flare-ups.

  • Trans-fats also known as hydrogenated fats, these artificial fats are processed at high temperatures until they turn into something similar to to plastic (think margarine). They contain harmful nitrates and other chemicals and are strongly linked to systemic, chronic inflammation. Stay away from vegetable oils. Vegetable oils are high in Omega-6s. Extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, butter, ghee and goose fat are safest to eat and cook with. This article takes a closer look at which oils to use and when.

  • Blackened and barbecued foods contain harmful bi-products caused by the cooking process, called advanced glycation end products. These are highly inflammatory and can damage your joints and bones, making arthritis worse. Healthier cooking methods include boiling, steaming and crock-potting.

  • Animal protein should be decreased, in favour of vegetable-based proteins. This includes dairy products, another common trigger of inflammation in the body.

  • Not all vegetables are good all the time. Vegetables, commonly known as ‘the deadly-nightshades’, that make any arthritis worse include potatoes, tomatoes, aubergine, peppers and tobacco. Alkaloids in these foods called solanine can cause inflammation of the joints in some people. I would suggest excluding these foods for a period of time to see if you feel better and then reintroducing them one at a time.


Foods to increase

  • Fish – especially oily fish like sardines, anchovies and organic salmon.

  • Vegetables of all kinds (except those listed above). Eat the colours of the rainbow. Variety is the spice of life.

  • Healthy oils, nuts and seeds

  • Spices (see below) – These are helpful in reducing inflammation. They include ginger, turmeric, etc.

  • Celery, garlic, pineapple, red peppers, shiitake mushrooms and sweet potato are other specific foods to increase in your diet.

  • Supplements (see below) which help break up the fibrin and reduce inflammation.


Supplements

Seek the advice of a qualified nutritional therapist or doctor before beginning a course of supplements and to discuss any protocol you wish to follow. Here is a list of various supplements and an explanation of their role in addressing arthritis symptoms and pain.

  • Curcuzyn – Targets acute pain and inflammation. Supports improvement in swelling. Helps maintain mobility and alleviate stiffness. Take 2- 4 capsules a day as directed.

  • Inflaquell – Helps to break down the fibrin which builds up around arthritic joints, thereby reducing inflammation and associated pain. The reason you take these enzymes away from food is they help break up the fibrin mesh that surrounds the joints. Eaten with food they act as digestive enzymes and help break down the food instead. Take 3 capsules around midday and 3 capsules around 6.00pm (either 1 hour before a meal or 2 hours after a meal, whichever suits you best).

  • Chondrocare – Contains glucosamine and chondroitin, important building blocks for cartilage. Take 1 tablet, three times a day.

  • Celapro – High potency antioxidant blend with green tea, turmeric and resveratrol. This supplement helps support circulatory health and tissue repair. Take 2 capsules daily.

  • Doctor’s Best High Potency Bromelain 3000 GDU, 500mg – Bromelain is a natural compound extracted from pineapple, containing several proteolytic enzymes shown to override multiple pain pathways in the body. Numerous studies since 1957 have shown it reduces inflammation, reduces and prevents swelling and removes waste and toxins from the blood. To be effective against arthritis, the enzymes must be taken away from food, otherwise they simply digest food particles.

More on proteolytic enzymes: Studies have shown that proteolytic enzymes are the first line of defense against arthritis and inflammation. They are completely safe compared to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). As we age, we produce less and less of our own enzymes. They act by ‘eating’ the fibrin and other scar tissue thus allowing blood to flow to the site of inflammation and to clear away toxins, fight disease, illness, pain, dissolve scar tissues and reduce inflammation.

Research indicates these enzymes work throughout your entire body to help it break down and eliminate the excess proteins that accumulate at the scene of an injury, irritation or burn. This promotes wound healing, supports healthy circulation and helps maintain a normal immune response.

Herbs

  • Turmeric extract - This extract is made from the dried out root of the turmeric plant and has been used for millennia to treat a wide range of conditions. Turmeric may be a safe and effective option for maintaining healthy levels of the enzymes associated with pain. Turmeric is also a powerful antioxidant which gives it further anti-arthritis capability (see part 1 of this article for more information on the role of antioxidants in fighting arthritis).

  • Papain - Papain helps to maintain the health of your immune system and also contains numerous proteolytic enzymes (see above). Papain is a proteolytic enzyme extracted from the raw fruit of the papaya plant.

  • Boswellia extract - A popular ingredient in Indian medicine, boswellia is a safe yet potent antioxidant that can help to eradicate the body of moderate levels of irritants. It is more commonly known as frankincense and is often particularly helpful for painful joints, especially when combined with other joint supplements such as glucosamine and tumeric.

  • Rutin - Rutin is a flavonoid, which occurs naturally in many plants and fruits (asparagus, apples and buckwheat), and which fights inflammation with it's powerful antioxidants.

  • Mojave yucca root - Yucca root contains both antioxidants and other nutrients that can help to reduce inflammation and toxins.

  • Ginger extract - Ginger has been used for several millennia in Asia, to treat irritated and inflamed joints. It helps to balance the production of prostaglandins, the body's pain messengers, which are active in the symptoms of arthritis.

  • Devil's claw - This is another natural herbal pain treatment, originally used in Africa, that supports healthy enzyme levels and has been found to specifically help with joint discomfort.

  • Citrus bioflavonoids - Citrus bioflavonoids support cartilage, the main connective tissue in the body that allows joints to move smoothly and freely.

The supplement Heal-n-Soothe contains a nutritionally balanced dose of all the enzymes mentioned above.



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