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Natural Ways to Ease Joint Discomfort
Joint health matters regardless of your age. Your joints play a critical role in your mobility and stability. Joint pain doesn’t just affect older populations; in fact, in the U.S. approximately one-third of individuals between 18 and 64 years of age have arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis and is the result of wear and tear over the years, but there are over 100 different types of arthritis.
Your joints affect your body’s ability to perform complex movements as well as daily tasks like rising out of a chair, getting dressed, and going grocery shopping. Joint swelling, pain, arthritis is traditionally treated with anti-inflammatory medications and painkillers. However, these drugs can cause serious side effects, and more natural approaches are growing in popularity.
It cannot be emphasized enough; regular physical activity is the single most important thing you can do to improve your joint health and maintain joint mobility. Your joints are designed to be in motion. Even simple movements such as sitting and standing or doing household chores are fine, but the movements performed while exercising are better.
Synovial fluid is a thick liquid that lubricates and cushions your joints. Exercise increases the production of this fluid, in turn reducing joint stiffness and friction. Physical activity also boosts circulation which helps deliver oxygen and nutrients to your joints. Researchers have repeatedly found that individuals with arthritis notice a decrease in their symptoms during periods of physical activity. Thirteen different clinical trials examined walking as well as muscle-strengthening exercises and found that they were safe and effectively decreased pain and disability associated with arthritis.
Rest and Relax
As explained above, exercise is crucial to maintaining healthy joints. However, that’s only part of the equation. Getting adequate amounts of rest before periods of activity will allow your body to repair itself naturally and will help prevent potential injury and further joint pain.
Care for Your Gut
Many studies have found links between gut microbiome, rheumatoid arthritis, and other autoimmune disorders. Your immune system is influenced by trillions of microbes –both harmful and helpful – living inside your digestive tract. A growing body of research is suggesting that disruptions in the microbial ecosystem may contribute to many chronic diseases, possibly even certain types of arthritis. There is still a lot to learn about the possible links, but probiotics offer a wide range of health benefits including enhanced immune function and improved digestive health. Adding probiotic-rich foods to your diet, such as kimchi or kefir, or taking a probiotic supplement is a great way to support your gut health.
Joint discomfort is widespread and can result from many different conditions including damage from disease or injury. There are so many possibilities, so it’s important to speak with your doctor if you experience joint pain, swelling, or stiffness. That being said, adopting an anti-inflammatory diet can not only support joint function; it can help support healthy levels of inflammation and improved well-being. Anti-inflammatory foods include green, leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, and broccoli, fruits like berries and apples, nuts and seeds, and fatty fish such as salmon. If you’re concerned about maintaining healthy inflammation, here are five ways to fight chronic inflammation.
Spice Up Your Life
Alternative remedies are growing in popularity, and turmeric is known for its extensive use and benefits. Turmeric is a plant used in traditional Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine to relieve joint discomfort. It is still used today in foods, beverages, and supplements; and recent in vitro studies found that its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties inhibit joint inflammation.
Some choose to incorporate turmeric into their diets by sprinkling turmeric in soups, on vegetables, or adding it to smoothies and drinks. However, this isn’t the most effective way to reap the benefits. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, isn’t easily absorbed without the addition of fat. Turmeric is fat-soluble meaning it dissolves in fat and can more easily be absorbed. If you are interested in adding a turmeric supplement to your routine, make sure you find one that also contains fat or oil to enhance absorption.
A Few Final Thoughts
If you aren’t already concerned about caring for your joints, now is the right time to start! Whatever your age or physical condition, you will benefit from using the information provided above to help you create a plan that will ease joint discomfort and help support a lifetime of mobility and freedom.
Want more information? Check out our Whole Person Approach to Joint Health
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