Health: An inflammatory issue

By Lani Lopez

Photo / Getty
Photo / Getty

LANI LOPEZ NUTRITION

Strong and supple joints are the hardest-working part of the musculo-skeletal system. They quite literally carry a heavy load. Weight-bearing and flexible, joints are everywhere, neck to ankles, hips to wrists, knees and shoulders. Joint health is a major factor in deciding quality of life.

Just like a door hinge, our joints need supple, free movement. As hinges grow stiff and rusty, joints get stiff and inflamed.

Flexible Eating
Joint pain is caused by inflammation. Rheumatoid arthritis for example, is an auto-immune disease characterised by chronic inflammation. For healthy and pain-free joints the key is preventing and reducing inflammation, which happily also supports joint rejuvenation. There are simple and proven steps to take when fighting inflammation and our primary weapon is nutrition.

Choose an anti-inflammatory diet. I use it to address many health issues and I am not alone. An excellent source of information on an effective anti-inflammatory diet is 'The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Anti-Inflammation Diet' by Christopher Cannon, MD, a cardiologist and Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

I like the book and it is good to see the heart of establishment medicine following long-held naturopathic principles.

Join the Freedom Movement
For supple joints; it's 'move it or lose it' and it is never too late to exercise for benefits with freedom of movement and pain relief. Both juvenile arthritis and osteo (habitually worsening with age) benefit from regular exercise. Any form of activity is helpful. Form daily habits of walking and gardening with swimming a particularly helpful weekly exercise. Both Tai-Chi lifting weights have been repeatedly proven beneficial for those people with advanced joint issues.

ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DIET
Eat plenty of:

• Fruit and veges
• Omega-3 fatty acids, in oily fish - think sardines, salmon, trout, kahawai and anchovies
• Fresh nuts and seeds
• Spices, garlic, turmeric and ginger
• Whole grains like brown rice and bulgur wheat
• Lean protein sources such as chicken and tofu
• Berries, fresh and frozen

Avoid:

• Saturated animal and trans fats
• Full-fat dairy foods
• Processed foods
• Refined carbohydrates such as pasta and white rice
• Processed meats - salami, luncheon, sausage and canned corned beef
• Nightshades - potato, tomato, sweet and hot peppers, eggplant and paprika - affect some people
• Alcohol
• If you smoke, stop. It's your choice; either cigarettes or joint health
• Cooking in or with oil - use only virgin or extra virgin olive oil, flax or coconut oil

Supplements
Sometimes diet needs a helping hand. I recommend these supplements for joint health
• Glucosamine
• Omega 3 oils
• Resveratrol
• Support immune function with olive leaf extract

ACUPUNCTURE
Research into the effectiveness of acupuncture in easing joint pain and as long-term support for healthy and supple joints is impressive. As is the evidence supporting meditation as a potent antidote to the crippling effects of inflammation.

To enjoy a long, mobile life, relax and give a little attention to your lifestyle and nutrition. You can stay supple and support your joints which are, after all, your own essential supporters.

Lani Lopez BHSc, Adv.Dip. Nat.
Lani Lopez is a naturopath, clinical nutritionist, and the founder of Lanilopez.com.
Email her with health questions naturopath@lanilopez.com or make her your healthy friend at facebook.com/lanilopez.com

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