Image by Creativity Timothy K Hamilton
Written by Ginger, Contributing Writer
What is arthritis?
Arthritis is a disease that causes inflammation of the joints. There are over 100 different types of inflammation currently recognized today and arthritis is just one type of inflammation. There are different types of arthritis,the two most common types being osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is associated with stiffness, aches and painful joints. The onset of osteoarthritis is frequently associated with age, but nutrition is gaining recognition as another leading factor. Rheumatoid arthritis is associated with inflammation of the joints in the hands, feet, wrists and elbows.
Causes of arthritis:
There are many causes of arthritis, but to name a few: genetics; infections; nutritional deficiencies; stress; environment and toxins, which include pollutants. With a combination of stress, toxins and nutritional deficiencies the body can be overloaded causing symptoms such as inflammation and pain which indicates the body is attempting to repair itself.
One alternative to over-the-counter pain medication or cortisol shots for treating the effects of arthritis is an elimination diet. An elimination diet is a systematic elimination of certain foods such as sugar, processed foods and gluten. Sugar can cause inflammation of the GI tract and of the body. This kind of inflammation is counterproductive to any attempt to heal the inflammation in the joints caused by arthritis. Processed foods, which contain no value to the body nutritionally, force the body to work harder to obtain missing nutrients. Gluten causes the digestive tract to work harder to digest the gluten proteins. This can cause more inflammation to the body, then healing. With an elimination diet, the body is not exposed to any extra unnecessary repairs caused by bad food, so it can begin to heal itself from the effects of arthritis.
After eliminating foods from the diet that are bad for the body in healing itself, the next step would be to add good things into the body. One good thing to add would be probiotics. Probiotics encourage a balance of gut flora in the GI tract, which allows food to be digested and absorbed properly. With food being digested properly, the body is better suited to extract nutrients. Some of these nutrients are used by the bones and joints. Probiotics also help protect against parasites, bad bacteria over-growth and possibly leaky gut syndrome. Two main probiotics are lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidobacteria infantis. Both of these probiotics can be obtained in a supplement form from a local health food store or from fermented vegetables.
Adding probiotics into the diet should be followed by adding more whole foods. Whole foods consist of organic green vegetables, organic fruits, bone broth from free-range or grass-fed animal bones and meat from those same animals. The body can be restored and address any issues of pain and inflammation by allowing its cells to use nutrients. Eating whole foods with a high nutritional value gives the body and its cells the most nutrients needed to function properly.
One additional option to addressing inflammation and pain caused by arthritis, other than eliminating foods that can cause inflammation and adding probiotics and whole foods, is to add supplements to the diet.
Supplements and Herbs:
Omega-3 and Fish Oil:
Good-source fish oil, such as fermented cod liver oil or flax seed, eliminates the body’s production of certain prostaglandin. By eliminating the production of certain prostaglandin, inflammation can be reduced.
Studies have shown Ginger to reduce pain caused by inflammation by up to 75% with no side effects. This wonderful natural remedy can be easily added to any diet.
Glucosamine and Chondroitin:
Both of these supplements are sulfate nutrients that have been proven to repair cartilage, reduce inflammation, and increase mobility. Adding these supplements to any diet can potentially add their many healing properties to the body.