One in 5 Americans has been diagnosed by a doctor as having arthritis, but the actual number of sufferers may be much higher. Arthritis is broadly defined as deterioration of the protective material in our joints leading to pain, swelling, inflammation and stiffness. Those diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (a disease where our own immune system damages our joints) should consult a rheumatologist.
Osteoarthritis, the ‘wear and tear’ arthritis, can be caused by repetitive motion, diet, physically demanding jobs, how we’re built, and obesity to name just a few. Our instincts tell us to ‘guard and protect’ the areas of our body that are in pain by avoiding painful activities, but research has shown physical activity and exercise can be very beneficial to osteoarthritis sufferers in reducing pain and inflammation. Diets consisting of two-thirds fruits and veggies, and one-third lean protein are effective at limiting inflammatory response, and osteoarthritis progression (and just a good recommendation in general!). Studies have shown that Curcumin an extract found Turmeric spice present in mustard, many Asian foods, some supplements, curry, and other foods (when combined with black pepper) possesses anti-inflammatory properties, and may be beneficial to osteoarthritis sufferers (consult your healthcare professional before using Curcumin as pregnant women, suffers of gout, gallstones and more could experience adverse reactions).
With osteoarthritis, like so many other conditions, it’s very important to eat well, stay active, and ensure you’re functioning at your best to achieve the highest quality of life possible!