Diet and Joint Inflammation: Are They Connected?
The foods you eat have a significant effect on your general health and wellbeing. This fact is common knowledge – and probably the anthem of several doctors worldwide. But can your diet affect specific conditions – like joint inflammation? This is one of the most common questions asked by people suffering from or prone to joint pain and inflammation.
The truth is, your food choices strongly influence the rate at which your body retains fluids and inflammation results from the accumulation of these fluids. Knowing the foods to include in your diet and those to avoid is vital to keeping a healthy, inflammation-free body.
Although there are medical treatments for joint inflammation, research shows that including anti-inflammatory foods in your diet significantly reduces the chances of developing the issue. These anti-inflammatory foods can equally help prevent and control several other health conditions like diabetes, arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, and even heart disease, so adding them to your diet is a win-win.
What is an Anti-Inflammatory Diet?
An anti-inflammatory diet is made up of foods with high levels of antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. Your diet should contain fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, beans, fish, and healthy oils. Whole grains and well-processed foods should be part of meals too. Some foods high in anti-oxidants include apples, berries, cherries, spinach, walnuts, almonds, sweet potatoes, brown rice, beans, and artichokes.
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats, meaning that our body is not able to produce them. They possess anti-inflammatory properties and have shown to increase HDL cholesterol. Examples of foods containing omega-3 fatty acids include omega-3 fatty acid fortified eggs and milk, fish oil, flaxseed oil, olive oil, ground flax, salmon, and pumpkin seeds.
Spices like turmeric and ginger have also been shown to have some anti-inflammatory properties.
Although there’s no magical diet to stop joint inflammation, these anti-inflammatory foods go a long way in preventing or relieving pain and swelling in joints.
What Foods Should You Avoid?
Some foods can increase the possibility of developing joint inflammations when added to your diet. They include:
- Fried Foods
Fried foods may contain an advanced glycation end product (AGE), which can cause a release of cytokines in the body when consumed. These cytokines are inflammatory markers and will eventually cause inflammation. So, consider reducing your intake of fried foods.
- Refined Carbohydrates and Sugar
Food substances high in sugar like baked pastries, candies, sugary drinks, processed foods, and desserts can also trigger the release of cytokines in the body and should be avoided. Refined carbohydrates like white rice, white bread, and many more have also been shown to have similar effects in the body. It would help to reduce consumption of such foods.
- Saturated Fat and Dairy Products
Generally, saturated fats are solid at room temperature, and they are in food substances like cheese, butter, pizza, and red meat. These foods – as well as vegetable oils and dairy products – contain omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-6 fatty acids help control metabolism and increase brain functions, but they’re also inflammatory markers in the body. As a result, saturated fats and dairy products should not be removed entirely from your diet. Instead, they should be controlled and alternated with foods containing omega-3 fatty acids. The optimal ratio of Omega-6 and Omega-3 is 4:1 but the average American has been found to be as high as 20:1.
Can Chiropractic Care Help with Inflammation?
The main aim of chiropractic care is offering a natural, drug-free way of achieving optimal health while increasing brain and body function. Chiropractic medicine equally involves supporting and enhancing the proper functioning of the body’s immune and nervous system.
So, while changing your diet may address the cause of your joint inflammation, chiropractic care helps to treat and rectify its effects.
A chiropractor checks for any obstruction – called vertebral subluxations – that may be causing blockage or nerve pressure along your spine and removes it by applying gentle pressure to vital parts of the body. This simple adjustment to your spine will help your body biomechanics return to normal and reduce any inflammation significantly.
According to reports from a recent study, having frequent chiropractic treatments can help significantly reduce the level at which your body produces inflammatory markers like cytokines.
There’s a direct line of connection between diet and joint inflammation. It is advisable to adopt a healthy diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods to help reduce the occurrence and effects of joint swelling and pain. However, for the best possible results and relief, we advise that you combine a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids and anti-oxidants with proper chiropractic treatment.
Do not allow joint inflammation to get the best of you. Give us a call at (925)255-5805 or schedule an appointment for an evaluation examination and treatment plan.