Struggling to leaver yourself out of bed in the morning, and constant throbbing in your joints should not be dismissed as an every day occurrence for the 10 million Brits who suffer with arthritis. With Arthritis Care Awareness Week (14th-21st May) on the horizon, we’ve spoken to our experts for top tips on how we can ease the swelling and pain of this condition.
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 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 & 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 is 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,” explains Lynne Robinson, Founder of Body Control Pilates
Please consult with your GP before making any diet or lifestyle changes.