The Pain Free Athlete: Reduce Joint Inflammation with Good Nutrition

The Pain Free Athlete
Column by JESSICA KISIEL

Reduce Joint Inflammation with Good Nutrition

Inflammation is one of the main causes of joint pain. When your body is threatened the immune system and vascular system activate, creating an inflammatory response. Blood plasma and white blood cells are mobilized to the site of the injury.

This causes swelling, redness and heat. Unfortunately, many of us live which chronic inflammation which over time becomes destructive to the body. The cells in the inflamed tissues become altered.

These cellular changes can contribute to conditions such as cancer, heart disease, depression, Alzheimer’s, type two diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis and accelerated aging.

The way we live and the foods we eat can have a positive or negative effect on inflammation. Chronic inflammation is perpetuated by the following lifestyle factors according to naturopathic physician Dr. James Rouse:

  • Imbalance in Omega 3 & 6 Oils
  • Stress
  • Sugar & Insulin Spiking Foods
  • Lack of Quality Sleep
  • Fat Cells

Dr. Rouse advocates four steps to an anti-inflammatory lifestyle which include enhancing your optimism and happiness, regular aerobic and weight training exercise, challenging yourself to be your best and good nutrition. Below are three tips for reducing inflammation through your food choices.

1. Eat Antioxidants in Abundance

Antioxidants reduce the damage and inflammation caused by free radicals. Cells are mutated and DNA is damaged by free radicals. Replication of these distortions breeds disease. You’ll want to eat antioxidants from the three vitamin categories: beta-carotene and other carotenoids, vitamin C and vitamin E. Antioxidants are found in many fruits and vegetables.

Vitamin E is the lease abundant. Some foods that contain multiple vitamin categories include broccoli, cantaloupe, carrots, kale, mangoes, nectarines, green and red peppers, pumpkin, spinach, sweet potato and turnip greens.

2. Include Phytochemicals in Your Diet

In 2005, researchers at John Hopkins University found a potential link between phytochemicals and inflammation. Results showed that plant-based compounds could block the activity of an enzyme that causes joint inflammation.

Further research by a team lead by molecular biologist Daniel H. Hwang in 2009 validated these findings. Phytochemicals in the following foods have been shown to provide benefit:

  • Green Tea
  • Red Wine
  • Cinnamon
  • Curcumin found in Turmeric

3.  Increase Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are essential fatty acids that the body does not produce and must be consumed though food. A typical western diet is lacking Omega-3 fatty acids. There are few sources for Omega-3 fats; cold water fish (salmon and sardines), walnuts, flaxseeds and fortified foods.

Omega-6 fatty acids on the other hand are ubiquitous in our foods being found in refined vegetable oils, a common ingredient in many processed foods. Omega-6 fats increase inflammation while Omega-3 fats reduce it.

Jessica Kisiel is an Advanced Exercise Therapist certified by Egoscue University®. She also holds certifications from The American College of Sports Medicine, National Strength and Conditioning Association, American Council on Exercise, National Posture Institute and Wellcoaches. Stay connected and receive free posture exercises for your favorite sport by signing up for her newsletter, http://www.thepfathlete.com/subscribe

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