An osteoarthritis diagnosis can certainly be frightening, and the pain this condition brings is sometimes debilitating. However, you can fight osteoarthritis and win, and what you eat may play a significant role in that victory.
What Is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a chronic, degenerative disorder whereby cartilage, the cushioning tissue surrounding a joint, degrades and gets rougher. Consequently, the joint swells and starts to hurt. I mean, seriously hurt. But it can be worse than even that. When you move that joint, the friction can damage the bone that’s next to it, causing a cascade of problems. Eventually, that bone can come into direct contact with the joint or with another bone; situations that are acutely painful.
Osteoarthritis most frequently affects hands, large toes, spines, hips and knees, although any of the body’s joints can be susceptible to it.
What Causes It?
Osteoarthritis most often afflicts people who are at least 65 years old. If you’ve injured or overworked a certain joint, it’s more likely that you’ll get it. Also, for reasons that are unknown to medical researchers, women have a higher chance of suffering from osteoarthritis than men.
Obesity likewise increases one’s osteoarthritis risk. That’s because an obese person’s body tends to release more proteins that can induce joint inflammation, and extra pounds can strain knees, hips and other joints. Additionally, some people are genetically predisposed to this disorder, and others have distorted joints from birth, joints that are more prone to osteoarthritis.
But overwhelmingly, how we nourish our bodies speaks volumes for the frequency and severity of Osteoarthritis diagnoses. The central problem is how thoroughly we’ve learned to balance proteins, fats and carbs in our diet. Most of us don’t have the right nutritional profile to properly repair and replenish the cartilage of our joints.
Our bones are made of 1/3 water, 1/3 mineral, and 1/3 protein. We often forget the protein component. We need the same compliment of minerals and proteins that occur in most animal’s bones. We can get that from regular doses of beef or chicken stock or broth, at a rate of 1 cup per day. We recommend this almost daily, to our patients. Also having sufficient levels of acid in our stomachs when eating animal based foods such as grass fed animals, deep ocean fish, raw dairy and free range eggs. Sufficient acid thoroughly breaks down the proteins into the necessary amino acids necessary for your body to remake them into strong proteins for your bones. You cannot build strong bones with broccoli and radishes. You need dense protein.
It’s no wonder Osteoarthritis diagnoses are growing by leaps and bounds over the last 50 years especially. High fat intake is also a necessary compliment to protein for maximum utilization of the proteins in our diets.
How Does Nutrition Influence Osteoarthritis Treatment?
Therapies for this type of arthritis come in various forms, including prescription drugs (of course!), surgical operations, medicated creams and special exercise regimens, and oddly enough, good upper cervical chiropractic care. To manage the pain, massages, warm compresses and ice packs are often beneficial.
Altering your diet can help you to overcome osteoarthritis. Some foods can bring down inflammation. Examples are beans (well soaked and drained before cooking), raw nuts, virgin olive oil, whole grains, leafy green vegetables and foods like tuna that contain omega-3 fatty acids. You should limit your intake of sugar, as well as items that are fried in bad oils as they will disrupt proper hormonal influences in the digestive process. Bad oils would be anything but olive, palm, peanut, coconut, and any animal fat; butter being a very good and rich frying medium. (Yes, I said animal fat!)
If you don’t like eating fish, consider taking a daily fish oil supplement to reduce your joint swelling. We suggest Tuna Omega 3 from Standard Process. Our protocol below includes this, and several other whole food concentrates, to make it easier to get the nutrients you need without having to spend a fortune and extra time grocery shopping to meet these needs.
Diminishing the effects of osteoarthritis takes discipline. But, with a positive attitude, a support network of friends and a willingness to try healthy foods or whole food concentrates you don’t normally consume, your chances of resuming a daily schedule free of joint pain can greatly improve.