Inflammation is an important part of our body as it assists in the healing process, but too much inflammation can wreak havoc with our insides and lead to all sorts of problems such as acne, autoimmune disease, arthritis and even cancer, according to various studies.
Nutrition is an alternative way to combat this issue, so what are some the easiest anti-inflammatory foods to incorporate into your diet?
This yellow spice is a commonly used ingredient in Indian curries, but it’s also renowned for its anti-inflammatory properties. Studies suggest that Turmeric contains compounds that combat swelling and inflammation and contains curcumin, which has been reported to positively assist with arthritis symptoms.
With a relatively versatile flavour, turmeric can be incorporated into most dishes and can even be sprinkled over roast vegetables. It can also be included into a morning smoothie or enjoyed with milk.
A popular spice used in baked goods, cinnamon is said to be the go-to for relieving sugar cravings as it reduces the rise of blood sugar-levels when eating. What’s more, according to various studies, it also contains anti-inflammatory properties that can help to ease swelling.
So next time you order a latte or coffee, opt for a sprinkling of cinnamon on top. Alternatively you can add a dash to your morning muesli or cereal, or sprinkle it over baked sweet potato for an extra burst of flavour.
Not only are sweet potatoes high in antioxidants and lower in calories than regular potatoes, according to Live Science, due to the colour-pigmented vitamins, they’re high in anti-inflammatory benefits. One sweet potato is reported to contain roughly half of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C.
Opt for sweet potato next time your making mash, roasting vegetables, or making homemade fries – you can also incorporate it into your soups.
Ginger is available all year round and is regularly used in Asian dishes to a add flavour. The zesty spice contains a very potent anti-inflammatory compound called gingerols, which scientist claim reduces inflammation and pain levels of people with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis who frequently consume the spice.
While ginger is best enjoyed in stir-fry’s, you can also add it to a green juice or smoothie for an extra kick.
Packed full of omega-3, walnuts boast various health benefits. Research also indicates that foods high in omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and can help to lower the risk of heart disease and arthritis.
According to the Heart Foundation, foods such as oily fish, dark leafy green vegetables, flaxseeds and eggs are among some of the other foods high in omega-3.
Image via Shutterstock
Despite what many people think arthritis isn’t just a disease that only old people suffer. Did you know nearly one in five Australians are affected by arthritis with more women than men suffering from symptoms? Nature’s Own dietitian and exercise physiologist, Kate Save shares her top nutrition and exercise tips to support and strengthen joints.
Omega-3 is key: Foods rich in Omega-3 fats have been proven to help reduce inflammation. Good sources of Omega-3 include oily fish such as sardines, tuna and salmon, canola oil, ground linseed and walnuts. Additionally, consider taking a good quality fish oil supplement.
A colourful, antioxidant rich diet: Fill your plate with a variety of colourful fruits and vegetables every day to enrich your diet with antioxidants. A healthy balanced diet will not only ensure you meet your daily nutritional requirements but also help maintain a healthy weight to reduce the impact of arthritis on joints.
Supplements: A glucosamine and chondroitin supplement may be beneficial for temporarily reducing pain associated with osteoarthritis, increasing mobility and protecting against further cartilage breakdown. Glucosamine is one of the building blocks of cartilage naturally produced by the body. Chondroitin is also a natural substance found in the body which helps draw water and nutrients into the cartilage.
Tai Chi: is a gentle type of exercise involving smooth, flowing movements to help improve the flow of life energy (traditionally known as “Qi”), increases muscle strength in the lower body, and improves balance and posture and is suitable for most people to practice on a daily basis.
Pilates: strengthens and lengthens muscles through eccentric contractions, recommended 1-2 sessions per week for improved core stability to assist with balance, flexibility and overall strength, not suitable for all people, seek advice from an exercise physiologist or physiotherapists.
Hydrotherapy and water based exercise: popular amongst professional athletes who often look to hydrotherapy to help maintain strong blood flow around the body, the warmth and buoyancy of the water helps to loosen joints and muscles, and alleviate weight from painful joints, water-based exercise promotes freer movement than on land, and is suitable for people who can only do limited land-based training on a daily basis.
Strength Training: increases muscle strength to help support joints and builds bone strength to improve balance, seek professional exercise prescription from an exercise physiologist or physiotherapist for resistance band exercises or gym-based weights program, recommended 2-3 times per week for those who deemed suitable.
Low impact cardio: important for maintaining weight and the health of your heart and blood vessels, low-impact exercises which increase your heart rate such as walking and bike riding are recommended for all people with osteoarthritis on a daily basis for 30-60 minutes
What are your top tips for managing joint pain?
There’s nothing worse as a pet owner knowing your beloved animal is in pain. Arthritis is a painful condition that affects around one in five Australian dogs. It is most common in older dogs of medium or large breeds, but can affect dogs of any age, size and breed. People are often unaware of the signs of joint pain and think their pet is just getting old.
Veterinarian Dr Katrina Warren discusses the common symptoms and the simple things we can do to make our canine companions feel more comfortable.
Five signs of joint pain
1. Difficulty moving – hesitant to jump, run or climb stairs
2. Stiffness or discomfort when getting up from lying down
3. Limping or lagging behind on walks
4. Experiencing pain when being touched in certain areas
5. Licking or chewing at the joints
How to help alleviate joint pain in dogs
1. Moderate your pet’s exercise
Regular exercise is still important for muscle tone and joint flexibility. Offer daily, low impact exercise like gentle walks and swimming.
2. Weight loss
Being overweight can exacerbate arthritis by putting extra pressure on the joints. Talk to your veterinarian about a weight loss plan for your dog.
3. Pamper them
Dogs with joint pain may benefit from regular massages and acupuncture.
4. Home improvements
Provide an elevated bed away from drafts and add extra blankets in winter.
5. Discuss treatment options with your veterinarian
Create a program of treatments to minimise your dog’s pain and help slow its progression. Natural supplements such as Rose-Hip Vital® Canine may help improve joint health and the general wellbeing of active and ageing dogs. It’s made from 100% pure and natural rosehip fruit, which is a rich source of natural vitamin C and powerful antioxidant.