This month we celebrate World Arthritis Day and at Gentle Professional Foot Care we see many patients who are debilitated and limited in their mobility due to this disease. It’s important if you are experiencing pain, stiffness and swelling in your joints that you make an appointment to see our podiatrist, Dr. Charles A. Suleskey, when you first notice the symptoms. Arthritis is not a “normal” part of aging and its progression can be greatly slowed with the appropriate treatment. Your diet can also play a role in joint health. Consider the 4 ways below:
1. Trigger an Inflammatory Response—did you know that certain foods actually send messages to the brain to create inflammation in your body? It’s true. These include: processed sugars, saturated and trans fats, refined carbohydrates, and monosodium glutamate. Limiting the amounts of these foods in your menus is one way to reduce joint pain.
2. Fight Inflammation—fortunately, there are also foods that can suppress an inflammatory response or reduce the proteins and compounds in the body associated with inflammation. Some good ones to add to your meals include: cherries, blueberries and blackberries, olive oil, nuts and seeds, fish high in omega 3 fatty acids, citrus fruits, whole grains and dark green vegetables like kale, broccoli and spinach.
3. Maintaining a Healthy Weight—another way food plays a role in joint health is your overall weight. Carrying excess pounds greatly increases the strain on your knees, ankles and feet. This in turn increases your risk for arthritis and the pain of any joint disorder. Losing or gaining even a few pounds has a multiplied effect—either positive or negative—on your lower extremity joints.
4. Avoiding gout—one specific form of arthritis—gout—has been directly linked to the consumption of certain foods. People with gout have a high level of uric acid in their bodies, which crystallizes in the joints (most often the big toe and ankle) causing excruciating pain. Foods high in purines have been shown to trigger gout attacks. If you have this condition, you’ll want to avoid shellfish, red meat, red wine and other alcohol, organ meats, gravies and rich sauces.