By Tracy Shields - Believe it or not, inflammation is a good thing—or at least it’s supposed to be when everything in your body is working right. According to Webster’s, “Inflammation is a process by which the body’s white blood cells and chemicals protect us from infection and foreign substances such as bacteria and viruses.” But, often due to poor diet, lack of exercise, increased age or other factors, inflammation is triggered when there are no visible signs of infection. Arthritis is a good example: inflammation of the joints and often a sign of more serious problems.
Did you know that arthritis and heart disease often occur together? According to the Arthritis Foundation:
“A recent study found that arthritis affects 57 percent of adults with heart disease. And in the case of patients with RA [rheumatoid arthritis], the incidence of heart disease is much higher. RA is actually a separate risk factor for heart disease just like high cholesterol, diabetes and high blood pressure.” 1
While there is no cure for arthritis and joint pain, there are natural solutions to ease pain and discomfort. And there is the awareness of their relationship to heart disease.
So, what can you do? Well, most important is to start creating a heart-healthier lifestyle. Eat more fruits and veggies. Stay away from processed and fast foods. Eat less sugar. Exercise regularly (a 25-minute brisk walk is perfect!). Start treating your body like a temple. It’s sacred. Only allow good things in.
Second, address the pain of arthritis and heart health with an anti-inflammatory diet! One of the best books I’ve read recently on food and nutrition for inflammation is The Anti-Inflammation Diet and Recipe Book, by Jessica Black. In it, she offers not only an explanation of what inflammation is, and what raw ingredients work best to fight it, but she provides tons of great recipes.
Among the most beneficial nutrients for any type of inflammation are omega-3s. Because of the EPA and DHA, the essential molecules that make up omega-3s, they work almost like a lubricant on joints to reduce inflammation. That goes for your joints and your heart. That’s why if you suffer from arthritis, it is crucial to supplement your diet with high-potency omega-3s.