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Chronic Pain As You Age: Foods That May Help Arthritis

Posted by Blooms The Chemist on 11 Jun 2020

Chronic Pain As You Age: Foods That May Help Arthritis


A chronic health condition is defined as an illness that is unlikely to be totally cured and may lead to health gradually getting worse. These can be life-altering challenges that require a range of treatments, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and, a lot of mental resilience. While chronic pain is not an age-related condition, illnesses and conditions, we develop as we age typically have pain-related symptoms.

In this article, we look at foods that may help with a common chronic pain condition in aging Australians, inflammatory arthritis. This is a condition in which one or more of your joints are inflamed that can result in stiffness, soreness and swelling. If you are suffering from these symptoms, you should consult with your doctor. They may refer you to a specialist, for example, a rheumatologist or immunologist, for further tests, advice and medical treatment.

An anti-inflammatory diet may help reduce the inflammation that leads to chronic pain from arthritis. Typically anti-inflammatory diets are rich in antioxidants and healthy fats, although a specialist can determine better from tests what foods may trigger inflammation in your body.

Let’s look at some popular anti-inflammatory foods.

  • Wild-caught salmon

Wild-caught salmon has a higher ratio of EPA and DHA Omega-3 fatty acids then farm-bred salmon. These chemicals can help to modulate the body’s inflammatory response. Research shows that increasing the intake of DHA en EPA can help to reduce the incidence of diseases that involve an inflammatory response and that causes chronic pain.

  • Blueberries

Blueberries, both wild and cultivated, are very rich in phenolic compounds. Phenolic compounds enter the cells where they have antioxidant activities that protect cells and modulate inflammatory responses.

  • Green tea

Green tea contains polyphenols that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The main polyphenol in green tea is epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Initial models show that EGCG could be beneficial in the prevention and treatment of inflammation related to rheumatoid arthritis.

  • Ginger

Ginger is a root that has ancient uses as a medicine. It is known to have broad anti-inflammatory actions, including suppressing the expression of genes that regulate the inflammatory response.

  • Dark leafy greens

Dark leafy greens are an important part of a healthy diet, but for people fighting chronic inflammation, their consumption becomes even more important. They are well-known to provide essential vitamins and minerals, in addition to antioxidant chemicals that fight free radicals and regulate abnormal inflammation.

In addition to integrating these anti-inflammatory foods into your diet on a regular basis, consuming a diet that is high in healthy fats, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is proven to be better for overall health. The last step in your diet goals is to also avoid pro-inflammatory foods like red meat, processed foods, and anything with large amounts of sugar.

Chronic pain is not age-related but as we age we are more vulnerable to illness and disease. Inflammatory arthritis is common amongst aging Australians. A diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods is therefore likely to help reduce the symptoms of the disease.

Written by Sasha A.
With a B.A. in Anthropology and a Master of Science, Sasha shares her knowledge in articles about food, nutrition, health, and fitness.

References

[1] Rustøen T, Wahl A K, Hanestad B R, Lerdal A, Paul S, Miaskowski C. Age and the Experience of Chronic Pain: Differences in Health and Quality of Life Among Younger, Middle-Aged, and Older Adults. 2005-12

[2] Arthritis Australia. Healthy eating. 2020

[3] Wall R, Ross R P, Fitzgerald G F, Stanton C. Fatty acids from fish: the anti-inflammatory potential of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids. 2010-05-01

[4] Kang J, Thakali K M, Jensen G S, Wu X. Phenolic Acids of the Two Major Blueberry Species in the US Market and Their Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory Activities. 2014-12-23

[5] Tipoe G L, Leung T, Hung M, Fung, M. Green Tea Polyphenols as an antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Agent for Cardiovascular Protection. 2007

[6] Riegsecker S, Wiczynski D, Kaplan M J, Ahmend S. Potential benefits of green tea polyphenol EGCG in the prevention and treatment of vascular inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis. 2013-09-03

[7] Grzanna R, Lindmark L, Frondoza C G. Ginger—An Herbal Medicinal Product with Broad Anti-Inflammatory Actions. 2005-07-20

[8] van Duyn M A S, Pivonka E. Overview of the Health Benefits of Fruit and Vegetable Consumption for the Dietetics Professional: Selected Literature. 2000-12

All articles are provided as general information and are not intended, nor may it be construed, as medical advice or instruction. Information and opinions expressed are believed to be correct and accurate to the best knowledge and judgement of the authors. Readers should consult their appropriately qualified health care professional prior to taking any action or inaction.