The Link Between Nutrition and Arthritis Pain

With nearly 55 million people in the United States diagnosed with arthritis (a number that’s expected to climb over 78 million by 2040), it’s more important than ever to tackle the problem from every angle, including nutrition.

At Healthstone Primary, Dr. Hector Fabregas and his team believe that excellent health comes from comprehensive medical care and the steps you take on your own. When it comes to arthritis, there’s much we can do to relieve your pain and restore your mobility, but you can do your part by ensuring that your joints have the resources they need through your diet.

Here’s a closer look at the links between arthritis and your nutritional habits.

A heavy burden

The first link we want to highlight is the effect of carrying extra weight on your joints. Your musculoskeletal structure is designed to carry a certain amount of weight — and your joints do most of the heavy lifting in this regard.

When you add more weight than your body can easily handle, you often feel the effect in your joints, which have to work harder under restricted conditions. And this rule of thumb applies to most forms of arthritis, whether it’s osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.

With this in mind, one of the first lines of defense when it comes to treating, preventing, or slowing arthritis is maintaining healthy eating habits to ensure your body weight is within normal limits.

The role of fats

In the simplest of terms, arthritis is defined as any disease that leads to pain and inflammation in your joints, making inflammation a key target. While anti-inflammatory medications can help provide temporary relief, you can tackle inflammation through your diet, as well.

It's a good idea to consume more omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to fight off inflammation. The best way to increase your omega-3 intake is to add fish to your diet, especially salmon, tuna, and mackerel. If fish isn’t your favorite food, you can take a fish oil supplement or try soybeans, both of which deliver the same benefits.

On the other side of the fat equation are saturated fats and trans fats, which may be linked to chronic inflammation. To offset this, we recommend that you reduce the amount of red meat you eat and dairy products like butter or cream.

Vitamin D

When it comes to joint health, researchers are finding that the role of vitamin D is essential. Studies show that 75% of American teens and adults aren’t getting enough vitamin D, which may increase their chances of developing arthritis.

Vitamin D is tough to find in food, but oily fish, orange juice, and milk are reputable sources, and many foods are fortified with vitamin D. A great way to add this vitamin to your diet is to take a supplement — about 1,000 IU per day.

Another source of vitamin D is right outside your door: the sun. Vitamin D is also called the “sunshine” vitamin, so we recommend that you soak up a few rays each day. Avoid prolonged exposure — just 10 minutes in the sun a few times a week can do the trick.

If you’d like to learn more about the role that nutrition plays when it comes to arthritis — and there’s a lot more than what we’ve covered here — please  Call one of our offices in Weston, Pembroke Pines, or Davie, Florida, or request an appointment online.

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