Want to Prevent Arthritis Symptoms? Decrease Your Inflammation
Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms have been linked with autoimmune disorders- often thought to be caused by inflammation. Reduce your RA symptoms naturally by reducing your body's total inflammation.
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2005 showed that at the time of the study, 65 percent of Americans over age 20 were obese. 10 years later, we are not much better off- if not actually worse off.
Clearly, something is drastically wrong with our diets and lifestyle.
The 2005 study found that the leading cause of death in the United States is heart disease- followed closely by cancer. According to this study and others, much of what leads to modern health diseases are preventable in diet changes.
Recently, studies have indicated that chronic inflammation is a contributing factor to many modern diseases- including rheumatoid arthritis. Find out more about these studies and if reducing the inflammation in your diet can prevent RA arthritis symptoms below.
Numerous studies over the years have indicated that today’s modern, inflammatory diet contributes to a wide variety of health conditions, including arthritis, weight gain, heart disease, and even autoimmune disorders.
One of the first studies to link inflammation to modern health conditions was conducted in 2002 and published in the journal of Biomedicine and Pharmacotherapy. This study found that individuals with a high ratio of omega 6 fats to omega 3 fats were more likely to have diseases like cancer, cardiovascular diseases, weight gain, inflammatory diseases, and autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.
When study participants had a ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 fats of 4/1, their total mortality decreased by 70 percent. Other disease risks were decreased by measurable amounts as well- particularly breast cancer.
Even though this study is more than 10 years old, most Americans still eat far too many vegetable oils- and what’s more- still think of them as healthier than animal fats.
A study from 2005 published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that the modern diet is responsible for many of the common diseases seen today. According to the study, a shocking 65 percent of adults over the age of 20 were overweight or obese at the time of the study. The study also found that cardiovascular disease accounts for 38.5 percent of all deaths. Cancer, the second leading cause of death at 25 percent was found to be preventable and caused by poor nutritional choices in 33 percent of cases.
All of these deadly health conditions can be linked to an unhealthy diet full of inflammatory foods. The 2005 study suggested that ancestrally, the addition of dairy, grains, and sugar to the diet is a relatively modern addition to the diet- which means our bodies are not designed to handle the consumed daily by most modern Americans.
Just as the 2002 study suggested, the 2005 study also indicated that the right balance of omega 3 to omega 6 fats (as well as the elimination of trans fats) was essential to preventing inflammatory diseases. According to these two studies, and several others confirming the data, inflammation is one of the leading causes of death in America.
Inflammation is a normal reaction in the body. Inflammation is designed to act as a warning sign and defense system against foreign invaders inside the body. Inflammation is how a cut heals, and why an injury throbs while healing.
The inflammatory response is designed to be a short, emergency healing system that repairs any damage in the body. Where the trouble enters is when there are so many inflammatory substances entering the body that it is overwhelmed. Your body cannot handle such huge amounts of inflammation, which causes it to remain in a stressed emergency state that can lead to numerous health problems. Not only does your body get tired from fighting inflammation, but it also cannot keep up, so foreign invaders that would normally be removed linger in the body.
What you eat plays a huge role in how much inflammation is in your body. Vegetable fats are some of the biggest causes of inflammation in the modern diet, but there are other triggers as well. As the above studies show, chronic inflammation is responsible for many of the modern disease, including autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.
The modern diet contains a lot more inflammatory foods than anti-inflammatory foods. This is one of the main reasons why it is so important to ensure you have a variety of anti-inflammatory foods in your diet. Many foods have been linked with anti-inflammatory properties, but it was not until a study from 2012 published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition specifically looked at the direct benefits of anti-inflammatory foods that these theories were confirmed.
This study examined the level of antioxidants in study participant’s blood after each participant consumed regulated amounts of spices and herbs for seven days. The researchers found that individuals who ate certain herbs showed either reduced cell damage or reduced inflammation. Each person ate about half a teaspoon of a single herb throughout the study period. Turmeric, sage, ginger, rosemary, paprika, and cumin were shown to prevent the breakdown of DNA and reduce cell damage. Ginger, rosemary, cloves, and turmeric also reduced total inflammation.
A study published in the Journal of Medicinal Foods in 2008 also found a link between herbs and anti-inflammatory effects. This study looked at dried herbs and spices from the grocery storey to determine if they still contained anti-oxidant benefits. The herbs they tested (24 in all), all contained compounds that can inhibit glycation and block the formation of AGE compounds, which are all hallmarks of the anti-inflammatory response.
The study authors found that the most potent anti-inflammatory herbs tested included cloves, allspice, cinnamon, sage, marjoram, rosemary, and tarragon.
Based on these studies, just using herbs and spices in every meal can reduce your inflammation without any additional steps. Fresh herbs are best, but even dried herbs can add some anti-inflammatory foods. Nutritional reports show that per gram of fresh weight, herbs have more antioxidants than vegetables and fruit.
The coolest thing about this study was that the doses given to each person were about what one person might consume in a day. It is not unlikely for a person to eat half a teaspoon of a spice. This indicates that spices and herbs can have powerful effects even at small doses.
The study authors noted that these, “results represents what might happen when cells in our body are exposed to the levels of spices that circulate in our bloodstream after normal daily consumption—not megadoses in some pill. Just the amount that makes our spaghetti sauce, pumpkin pie, or curry sauce taste good.”
If you eat a lot of omega 6 fats and other inflammatory foods (difficult to avoid even if you try to avoid unhealthy foods), just adding herbs and spices to every meal may not be enough to keep inflammation at bay. In reality, no supplement can prevent inflammation as much as avoiding the inflammatory items in the first place.
However, if you make every effort to avoid inflammatory foods (common inflammatory foods are listed below), then by adding herbs and spices and the anti-inflammatory foods to your diet should prevent chronic inflammation and may even reduce your symptoms from autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, which is caused by joint inflammation.
If you want to maximize your inflammation reduction, add the following foods to your diet on a regular basis:
Omega 3 fats: These fats are mainly found in fish and can counteract inflammation from other sources. Studies have found that a ratio of 4 omega 3 fats to 1 omega 6 is extremely beneficial to health and can reduce total mortality by 70 percent. Find omega 3 fats in fish and other seafood products as well as flaxseed, walnuts, grass fed animals, and some eggs.
Blueberries: While most berries have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, blueberries have the most of any fruit. Blackberries, cherries, and strawberries also contain a large amount of anti-inflammatory ingredients.
Leafy greens: Leafy greens contain more antioxidants and other powerful anti-inflammatory ingredients than most other foods (aside from herbs). Kale, Swiss chart, spinach, broccoli, and collard greens contain some of the most antioxidants of any green.
Fermented foods: Fermented foods can help reduce inflammation by giving your body more tools to fight of inflammatory invaders. Kefir, kombucha, miso, tempeh, pickles (made with brine), olives, cheese, vinegar, and other fermented products are beneficial for reducing inflammation.
Garlic: Garlic has a host of benefits including antibacterial and antiviral properties in addition to containing a variety of inflammation-fighting ingredients. Raw garlic is best, but even cooked garlic contains some inflammation-fighting power. Researchers believe it is the allicin in garlic that makes it so powerful. This ingredient converts to sulfenic acid, which fights against free radicals faster than any other compound.
Onions: Garlic and onions were made to go together, but in addition to simply being a tasty combo, garlic and onions both have anti-inflammatory properties. Onions contain ingredients to fight inflammation, oxidation, and may even help lower cholesterol.
You may find you need additional help with reducing inflammation if you have struggled with chronic inflammation and arthritis for years. It can take time, along with an extra boost of anti-inflammatory ingredients to remove inflammation that has built up for years. The following supplements can provide an extra inflammatory boost:
Rheumatoid arthritis has many possible causes- not all of which are diet-related. However, there is truth in the old adage that you are what you eat. When you eat powerful foods that reduce inflammation, fight oxidation, and help your cells function better, you will have less inflammation in the body. Less inflammation equals less inflammation in the joints which are caused by RA. Simple diet and nutrient changes can help go a long way toward reducing arthritis symptoms and joint pain.
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