Arthritis and joint pain can be a debilitating condition for most patients. A reduction in the cartilage tissue that cushions the joints is the main symptom of both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Although they have different causes, most diseases that cause joint pain are characterized by high levels of inflammation.
Because conventional medicine has little to offer as a cure, doctors recommend prescription drugs such as ibuprofen and aspirin that can cause serious side effects and organ damage when taken for a long time. But there are many natural ways for people with joint pain to get relief from the agony.
Arthritis sufferers are advised to follow general precautions such as getting plenty of rest and drinking water, not exercising too much, using compresses, avoiding alcohol, practicing yoga, or other low-impact natural exercise. Following a healthy diet and avoiding inflammatory foods like red meat, bell peppers, eggplants, potatoes, and tomatoes can also help curb inflammation.
A growing number of physicians and nutrition experts have come to believe that diet plays a major role in the development of inflammation and autoimmune diseases. Doctors like Dr. Nicholas Perricone, a leading proponent of the anti-inflammatory diet, recommend a diet low in simple carbohydrates like sugar, processed foods, pasta, breads, cakes, and baked goods. These are high-glycemic foods that can increase the levels of pro-inflammatory peptides in the body.
Perricone recommends an anti-inflammatory diet that includes high-quality protein (such as tuna or salmon), adequate amounts of essential fatty acids, as well as fresh, colorful fruits and vegetables. The reason this diet works to reduce inflammation is because it provides a number of essential nutrients that can cure inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and autoimmune diseases.
Essential fatty acids, such as those found in salmon, flax, walnuts, seeds, and olive oil, can significantly slow down inflammation, reduce pain and swelling, improve joint mobility, and prevent a increased joint degeneration. However, they must be taken for months to see a noticeable effect.
Folic acid supplementation has been found to reduce hip fractures that result from osteoporosis. Taking a good supplement that provides bone minerals such as magnesium and calcium is essential for those who suffer from joint pain. Zinc has also been shown to relieve joint pain and stiffness. A good supplement will also include vitamin D and B6, as well as antioxidant vitamins such as A, C, and E.
Other nutritional substances that have been shown to significantly reduce inflammation in various studies include turmeric, which was found to reduce symptoms by 73%, and bromelain, a protease enzyme derived from pineapple. Antioxidants such as alpha lipoic acid are also recommended as part of the anti-inflammatory diet.
MSM (methylsulfonylmethane), an organic sulfur-containing nutrient, has been shown to be helpful in relieving the symptoms of knee osteoarthritis and reducing pain. Nutrients such as chondroitin, which helps build cartilage, and glucosamine, which slows down inflammation, are also recommended.
Anti-inflammatory herbs like boswellia and immune-regulating herbs like ashwagandha and ginseng can regulate an oversensitive immune system and lower levels of pro-inflammatory metabolites. Other herbs used to heal sore joints include St. John’s wort, celery seed, angelica, juniper, sarsaparilla, devil’s claw, wild yam, and willow bark.
A good joint supplement may not contain all of these ingredients, but including some of them as part of your daily intake can help heal a number of joint and inflammatory conditions.