With so many people suffering from Arthritis, nutritionist Cassandra Barns gives her top tips on how to ease the swelling and pain of this condition which affects an astounding 10 million Brits…
1. Ensure Vitamin D levels are high
“Vitamin D makes sure we absorb enough calcium from our foods. It’s also important for regulating the way our immune system works. This is relevant to joint health because some types of arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis are autoimmune conditions where the immune system mistakenly attacks the joint tissue. Having adequate vitamin D stores may help to prevent this happening. It’s important to ask your doctor to check your vitamin D levels. If you are low, a GP may prescribe it for you, or you can take a supplement.”
2. Increase your Vitamin C intake
“Vitamin C is one of the most important nutrients for joint health, as it helps your body to make the cartilage that lines your joints and keeps them cushioned. Getting enough Vitamin C may help manage your joint pain. If you are thinking about supplementing, choose a vitamin C supplement that also contains rutin or bioflavonoids, which may work together with vitamin C to provide additional support.”
3. Reduce your sugar intake
“Sugar may have a detrimental effect on our health in many ways. Most specifically when it comes to joint health, high blood sugar levels – often caused by eating too much sugary foods and drinks and ‘white’ carbohydrates such as white bread, pastries and pasta – can increase damage to the joints through a processed called glycation, where sugar bonds to proteins. These foods can also cause weight gain, which then puts more strain on your joints. Aim to replace refined grains with whole grain carbohydrates such as brown rice, oats and quinoa.”
4. Limit red meat and processed meats
“For those who have joint problems, it may be best to limit red meat intake (i.e. pork, beef, lamb, etc) to two or three servings a week, as it can contain high levels of a pro-inflammatory omega-6 fat called arachidonic acid. Processed meats of any kind including bacon, sausages, salami and so on are best avoided too. Good-quality white meat such as organic chicken and turkey and, of course fish, are good alternatives.”
5. Align your joints to help beat arthritis
“Pilates has become increasingly popular over the years due to its many health benefits, which include flexibility and strength – elements that may help relieve pain for people with arthritis. It’s also one of the few exercises that is suitable for all ages and fitness levels.”
“Pilates can provide a safe and effective way of exercising for anyone who has osteoarthritis, as it will help to improve the alignment of the joint or joints affected by strengthening the supporting muscles, and by maintaining and even improving ranges of movement,” adds Lynne Robinson, Founder of Body Control Pilates.
* Please consult with your GP before making any diet or lifestyle changes.
Your arthritis anti-inflammation kit: what do you need?
A key symptom of arthritis is the joints becoming inflamed, but according to Cassandra, these four supplements can help combat against this process…
- A good-quality fish oil is essential. It’s been proved that omega-3 can reduce inflammation just as effectively as ibuprofen! Go for Super Omega 3-6-9 by Ques Vitamins (RRP £13.69 – currently available from Amazon.co.uk at £9.09)
- Vitamin D, as mentioned earlier, helps the immune response. Try Forte D 4000 by Quest Vitamins (Superfood UK £10.95)
- Try Probiotics to support digestive track and restore a healthy gut lining, which helps to reduce inflammation such as, ProVen 25 Billion (Amazon.co.uk, £20.00 – 2 pack), which contains Lab4, the most comprehensively studied group of friendly bacteria of any product in the UK.
- Antioxidant combinations found in food can also be a great way to deter inflammation. If you’re struggling with your five a day, try Nature’s Plus AgeLoss First Day Healthy Inflammation Response (currently available from Amazon.co.uk priced at £33.24), a complex of antioxidant-packed botanicals, including grape seed, bilberry and blueberry.
Find out more about alleviating the symptoms of arthritis at Arthritis Care.
Updated: 30/08/2017 (prices correct at this time)