You feel what you eat

Most people’s eyes go glassy when they see the word “diet” and frankly, the word is EVERYWHERE. Almost every magazine in the checkout aisle has a headline that refers to diet and every month some nutrition guru publishes a “new” diet for all ages. This rampant oversaturation renders many people desensitized to the notion of going on a full diet.

With my patients, I try to keep the four-letter word out of our conversation and instead refer to it as a “nutritional program.” Because, whether you want to believe it or not, you feel what you eat! And if your main goal is simply to feel better (and why wouldn’t it be), then you need to think about the types of food you eat.

Inflammation: The way your body says “Enough!”

The old adage says “You are what you eat”, but in truth, and more likely, you feel every bite you take in every part of your body. Certain foods can stimulate an inflammatory reaction in your body, which appears everywhere, but definitely in your joints.

Diet and arthritis

Arthritis is the most common cause of disability in the United States. An estimated 46 million American adults (about 1 in 5) report physician-diagnosed arthritis, based on annual estimates. As the American population ages, these numbers are expected to increase dramatically. In fact, the number of adults with arthritis diagnosed by a doctor is projected to increase to 67 million by the year 2030. Common symptoms include pain, soreness, stiffness and swelling in or around the joints.

Arthritis has to do with inflammation of the joint tissue. Living with it can be challenging, and finding the right cocktail of anti-inflammatory drugs can be difficult, too. One thing that you can really do to help with pain is eliminating certain foods that can stimulate your body’s inflammatory response.

Foods that can aggravate arthritis and should be minimized are:

• Foods high in saturated fat like dairy, red meat, and baked goods

• Coffee

• Sugary food

• Refined grains such as pasta, white rice, and white breads

• Refined or processed foods (if they are in a box or can, they are refined)

• Alcohol

Foods that help reduce inflammation in the body are:

• Vegetables and some fruits

• Whole grains like brown rice and bulgur wheat

• Sources of omega-3 fatty acids, such as fatty fish like salmon, fish oil supplements, and walnuts

• Lean protein sources like chicken, turkey, or beans

• Green Tea

Diet and osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is the gradual degeneration of joint surfaces, caused by overuse and under repair. Over time, the wear and tear of the cartilage progresses to the point that it wears out. Symptoms include pain, stiffness, and swelling in major joint areas, such as the hips, knee, and hands.

Although osteoarthritis is not a question of inflammation, a good nutritional program is key to avoiding this painful condition.

Keeping the weight off is not only great for your self image and health, but it is also great for your joints. Clinical research has shown that people who are 20 percent or more above their normal body weight have more problems with osteoarthritis. Weight-bearing joints are most affected by the added weight, especially the knees, hips, ankles, and spine. Unfortunately, once joint pain starts, a more sedentary life ensues, which means more weight gain that puts more pressure on the joints. It is a vicious circle. A nutritional program designed to lose weight may be appropriate in this situation.

When diet can’t solve everything

As mentioned above, some forms of arthritis do not necessarily respond to anti-inflammatory foods or medications. Although being fit can help keep the weight off your joints, sometimes they just wear out and you need an extra boost from outside help.

Foreign aid!

Prolotherapy: This unique therapy, although over 50 years old, has gained more interest recently due to the nature of its success. Prolotherapy works in two ways:

• Short term: Prolotherapy tightens the ligaments around a joint, helping to immediately relieve pain.

• Long-term: Prolotherapy stimulates the growth of tissue in an injured area, making it stronger and more viable over time.

Prolotherapy prompts the body to naturally do what it is supposed to do on its own when injured: build healthy, strong, and flexible ligaments or tendons. Unfortunately, our bodies don’t always respond the way they’re supposed to and they need an extra boost to get the job done. Prolotherapy is that added motivation or stimulus at the cellular level.

PRP therapy: Platelet rich plasma injection therapy, while not new, is raising many eyebrows in the medical field as of late as a viable technique to relieve pain and produce better results in healing injured and overused tendons and ligaments. A trained and knowledgeable doctor injects your own platelets (growth factors) from your blood into the injured area, which stimulates a healing process and in turn decreases pain in the area.

You feel what you eat, and eating less nutritionally enhanced foods will definitely put you on the path to feeling much, much better.

Suffering from chronic joint and tendon pain and want to learn more about prolotherapy and PRP injections?

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