Managing Your Arthritis Through Nutrition
Whether symptoms of arthritis have come on suddenly or developed over years, there are ways to help clients cope with this inflammatory condition and minimize their suffering.
The Edison Institute of Nutrition is a school of registered holistic nutrition that can help you teach your clients how to manage their arthritis through nutrition.
Modifying diet to manage arthritis may seem like an overwhelming prospect to someone suffering with symptoms.
Helping your clients to understand more about the condition and educating them about some of the natural foods that help to reduce inflammation can ease stress and symptoms when learning to live with an arthritis diagnosis.
First, let’s examine the types of arthritis and their symptoms.
What Is Arthritis?
Arthritis is an inflammatory condition that affects one or more joints.
The disease is more common in patients over 65 years of age, but it can also develop in younger people and even in children.
In Canada, about 20% of the population 15 years of age or older have some form of arthritis.
Meanwhile, in the United States the numbers are similar – 22.7% of American adults have arthritis.
Arthritis generally comes on slowly and worsens over time, but symptoms can appear suddenly.
What Are The Different Types Of Arthritis?
There are over one hundred different types of arthritis, all with varying causes and methods of treatment.
The two most common types of arthritis are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
What Are The Symptoms Of Arthritis?
Among the most common symptoms of arthritis are joint pain, stiffness or swelling of the afflicted areas.
Sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis may exhibit feelings of tiredness or loss of appetite due to inflammation caused by the immune system.
In more severe cases of rheumatoid arthritis, anemia or fever can occur, and joints appear deformed if not treated.
What Causes Arthritis?
Osteoarthritis is caused by a loss of cartilage – the firm but flexible connective tissue surrounding the joints – due to repeated stress on the joint.
Injury or infection in the joint can also result in the breakdown of cartilage and development of osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis can be hereditary and is one of the more common forms of arthritis.
The other most common form of the disease, rheumatoid arthritis, is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks the synovium, which is the soft tissue in your joints that serves to protect the joint from wear and tear.
This means your immune system is mistaking the membranous lining around your joints for a pathogen and attacking it.
Why this happens could be due to a wide range of possible underlying factors.
As a registered holistic nutritionist, it’s your job to help your clients discover and address these root causes.
Managing Arthritis Through Nutrition
If you have a client who’s suffering with the painful effects of arthritis, there’s quite a bit you can do to help them find relief.
First, you can assess them for nutrient deficiencies and then address those deficiencies.
Next, you can work to establish a healthy pH balance and address any environmental factors that may be influencing as well.
A healthy body doesn’t normally attack itself – with autoimmune conditions there’s an imbalance at the cellular level the immune system is trying to correct.
Poor gut integrity and function is the key to arthritis type issues.
You cannot rebuild the joints until you remove the cause of the problem.
Eating a nutritious diet, including healthy fats and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, is known to decrease inflammation, which can relieve some of the symptoms troubling your client.
Let’s examine some of the best anti-inflammatory herbs, oils and foods that help your client with managing symptoms of arthritis.
1. Turmeric & Curcumin
Turmeric, or its main chemical curcumin, is a root spice not unlike ginger and is often used as a prime ingredient in curries.
Curcumin extract can also be consumed in supplement form and has proven anti inflammatory qualities.
A 2016 study measuring the effects of turmeric and curcumin showed reduced symptoms of both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis as effectively as taking ibuprofen.
Turmeric has a number of other benefits as well, including anti cancer properties
Broccoli is often associated with a healthy, balanced diet, and so it is no surprise that this is one of the best foods to consume to reduce symptoms of arthritis.
A study of the diets of 1005 women saw a correlation between intake of this cruciferous vegetable and reduced inflammation.
Broccoli contains a component called sulforaphane, which has been shown to block the formation of certain cells associated with rheumatoid arthritis.
3. Fatty Fish (For The Omega 3s)
Fatty fish includes cold water fish such as salmon, sardines, and mackerel all of which are rich sources of omega 3 oils.
Omega 3 oils cannot be produced by the body, so we need to get them from fatty fish or from supplements.
Numerous studies have been done on the anti inflammatory properties of omega 3 oils, showing omega 3 to be effective in managing symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, and also proving similar results for osteoarthritis.
Fish is also a good source of vitamin D, which has been shown as deficient in patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.
Omega 3 oils have been shown to have a wide variety of other benefits as well, being linked to eye health, brain health, reducing depression, improving hormonal health, and even managing seasonal allergies
4. Olive Oil
Olive oil is something most people have in their pantry, but it is also well known for its anti-inflammatory properties.
A study to measure the effectiveness of olive oil for controlling morning inflammatory pain showed that using olive oil topically can reduce osteoarthritis pain.
Another study to determine whether olive oil was a suitable candidate for therapeutic intervention showed that olive oil prevents cartilage damage from osteoarthritis.
Olive oil is also a good addition to any healthy diet.
Garlic has long been considered a healthy addition to your diet, whether for its cancer fighting properties or its association with heart health.
But garlic has also been shown to have strong anti inflammatory and immune strengthening properties.
Contact The Edison Institute Of Nutrition
As a holistic nutritionist, you will help to guide your clients towards a more anti-inflammatory diet and find some relief for their symptoms of arthritis.
Feel more confident in your ability to help your clients cope with their symptoms by making healthy choices.