Fifty million people in the United States suffer from some form of arthritis. But new research shows there's a a way to munch away some of that pain. Just ask Mary Caldwell.
"It's like if somebody stuck a dagger in your knee," she says.
Mary tries to keep busy to distract her from the pain.
To stop the ache, studies show saturated fats may increase inflammation in the body, so cut the bacon, butter and cream out. Turn away from Omega 6 fatty acids found in vegetable oils. It may also increase inflammation and joint pain.
As an alternative, indulge in Omega 3's. Fish have selenium, which fights free radicals that cause damage to healthy tissue. Just one three and a half ounce servings of tuna will do the trick.
Also, spice up your diet by adding some heat to your food. An Oxford study shows 40 percent of arthritis patients reduced the pain by half after using capsaicin, which is found in chili peppers, for one month.
BACKGROUND: Arthritis is inflammation of one or more joints. A joint is the area where two bones meet. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis. Arthritis involves the breakdown of cartilage. Cartilage normally protects a joint and allows it to move smoothly. It also absorbs shock when pressure is placed on the joint. Without a normal amount of cartilage, bones rub together, causing pain, swelling and stiffness. Joint inflammation may results from an autoimmune disease, broken bone, general "wear and tear," or infection. (SOURCE: NIH)
TYPES OF ARTHRITIS: Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. Other common types include gout, gonococcal arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, scleroderma, systemic lupus erythematosus, and reactive arthritis. (SOURCE: NIH)
TREATMENTS: The goals for treating arthritis include reducing pain, improving function and preventing further joint damage. Some common treatment approaches include exercise programs, physical therapy, medications, and surgery. (SOURCE: NIH)
HEALING ARTHRITIS NATURALLY: One easy lifestyle change that can help ease the pain of arthritis is losing weight. Being overweight puts extra stress on the joints, which increases the risk of wear and tear. Every one pound of weight you lose equates to four pounds less stress and pressure on your knees. Certain foods may also reduce inflammation. Some of these include:
- Omega-3 fatty acids: While other foods increase levels of inflammation in the body, Omega-3s actually work to decrease inflammation by suppressing the production of cytokines and enzymes that erode cartilage. Foods with omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, herring, sardines, anchovies, rainbow trout, Pacific oysters, flaxseed, and walnuts.
- Extra-virgin olive oil: Olive oil contains the "good" monounsaturated fat, which protects the body against inflammation because it contains antioxidants called polyphenols.
- Ginger and turmeric: Ginger contains chemicals that work similarly to some anti-inflammatory medications. Turmeric, sometimes called curcumin, is a mustard-yellow spice from Asia. Scientific studies have shown that turmeric may help arthritis by suppressing inflammatory body chemicals. (SOURCE: MSNBC article, "Fight Arthritis With These Foods")