Are achy joints and stiffness slowing you down? Arthritis might be the culprit. Arthritis covers any joint issue connected with pain and inflammation. Sadly, symptoms of arthritis can seriously impair your quality of life and interfere with daily activities, as well as negatively affecting your mental health – but we’re here to help!
Conventional medicine offers anti-inflammatories, steroids and painkillers to manage symptoms, but many people are reluctant to take these long-term as they come with side effects like digestive irritation and immune system suppression. But what if there were natural solutions to help you manage symptoms? Here are some simple, all-natural ways you can manage your condition and reduce inflammation –
Love your gut
As far as your joints are concerned, your gut bacteria manage inflammation and help train your immune system. If your bacteria are out of balance, your immune system can mistake innocent body parts, such as joints, for invaders, attacking them and causing damage.
Our Kefir will re-populate the microbiome with the healthy balance of good bacteria it needs to function properly so symptoms connected to your gut health will alleviate. Chuckling Goat Kefir also works to reduce inflammation around the body which in turn will help alleviate joint aches and pains associated with arthritis.
Did you know that damage to the gut lining can contribute to autoimmune arthritis? To repair this damage, we recommend consuming 2 cups of homemade bone broth daily. Broth is rich in vitamins and minerals and is a direct source of collagen, chondroitin and glucosamine, which can help reduce inflammation and pain, as well as increase joint mobility1https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3150191/.
Our Pure Fish Collagen is also excellent for repairing the gut lining and supporting the joints (plus, it’s a quicker and simpler option than bone broth!). Research shows that collagen supplementation may reduce joint pain2https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11071580/ and improve joint function3https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17076983/.
Nourish your joints
Your joints need good nutrition to work well. Vitamin C is crucial for the formation of cartilage, the tough substance cushioning your joints. This vitamin is plentiful in fresh fruit and veg, but because it can’t be stored in your body, it’s best to graze on these foods throughout the day.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and is essential for collagen production in the body. Consuming a diet rich in vitamin C can prevent accelerated joint damage in osteoarthritis, and protect against free radical damage4https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0025254/. Food sources include berries, broccoli, brussels sprouts, citrus fruit, parsley, strawberries and tomatoes.
Vitamin D is needed for your body to manage inflammation. Many people are deficient in Vitamin D in the UK, particularly during the winter. Vitamin D deficiency is more common in rheumatoid arthritis patients and may be lead to the development or worsening of the disease 5https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5812075/. We recommend getting your levels tested with your GP and supplement all year round if you have arthritis 6https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmed.2020.596007/full).
Follow an anti-inflammatory diet
Slowly remove inflammatory foods such as gluten, vegetable oils and excessive sugars from your diet. Replace with a wholefood diet filled with leafy greens, colourful vegetables, nuts, seeds, quality protein and nourishing fats.
Focus specifically on boosting your intake of omega-3-rich foods such as oily fish, chia seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds & walnuts. Try adding a tablespoon of flaxseed oil to your daily Gut-Brain Health Smoothie! Omega 3 is particularly important not only as a lubricant for the joints but also for regulating inflammation7https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7362115/. It must be present in your diet because your body can’t make it from other fats.
Include anti-inflammatory herbs and spices in your diet like turmeric, nettle and garlic. Spice up your cooking and tap into the incredible compounds in these foods to help calm joint inflammation.
Ginger is also a powerful anti-inflammatory herb and is effective at reducing pain and inflammation associated with osteoarthritis8https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22054010. Clinical trials indicate that ginger extract and ibuprofen were identical in efficacy in the treatment of pain.9https://www.researchgate.net/publication/235007127_Comparing_the_Effects_of_ginger_Zingiber_officinale_extract_and_ibuprofen_On_patients_with_osteoarthritis
Ashwagandha may act as a pain reliever, preventing pain signals from travelling along the central nervous system. It may also have some anti-inflammatory properties. For this reason, some research has shown it to be effective in treating forms of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis. A study in 125 people with joint pain found the herb to have potential as a treatment option for rheumatoid arthritis10https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4405924/.
Boswellia is also known for its anti-inflammatory properties and reducing joint pain associated with arthritis.
Keep on moving
You might worry that using your joints will be harmful, but remaining active is crucial to keep joints supple and strengthen the muscles supporting them. If you avoid exercise, your joints will become stiffer and the supporting muscles weaker. Try walking, swimming or stretching exercises like yoga and Tai Chi.
If you have any chronic medical condition, especially an autoimmune condition, make sure you’re prioritising self-care and carving out time to relax. Here are some of my favourite stress management techniques:
Any one of these done regularly will go a long way towards reducing symptoms and preventing any stress-induced exacerbations of your condition.
To learn more about inflammation, check out our article Inflammation – friend or foe?. Any questions? Contact one of our Nutritional Therapists via live chat, weekdays from 8 am to 8 pm.
Advice given is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always check with your GP for interactions with medications/health conditions before starting supplements.