At this point in the new year, you are either moving full steam ahead on those new year resolutions or you have decided to wait until next year to try again. If you are like me, maybe you have decided on a lifestyle makeover − eating right, staying active and living a pain-free life. What you may not realize is that those three things are connected. It should be no surprise that diet and exercise can play a huge role in how you feel, but what you eat and how you move also can help you get past last year’s aches and pains.
Research has shown that what we eat is a significant contributor to chronic inflammation. Foods such as sugar, vegetable oil, dairy products, refined flour, artificial sweeteners and processed meats are a few of the items that may be causing unwanted pain due to inflammation. Although food is often looked at solely in terms of its impact on weight gain, it’s also the safest, most effective and cheapest way to preserve and restore overall health. Eating an anti-inflammatory diet that includes fruits such as blueberries, strawberries and cherries, fatty fish like salmon, mackerel and tuna, green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale and collards can help regulate your body’s inflammatory response and ease joint pain.
Of course diet and exercise go hand in hand, and a healthy dose of daily activity has regularly demonstrated positive effects. Even the Arthritis Foundation recommends range of motion, flexibility, endurance and strengthening exercises to reduce pain. While all of that movement can help maintain and improve the joints, new research has shown that 20 minutes of daily exercise can reduce inflammation, as well. This particular study showed that 20 to 30 minutes of moderate exercise, including brisk walks, were sufficient to produce an anti-inflammatory response.
Since joint pain can be attributed to inflammation, either local or systemic, diet and exercise are great ways to naturally and effectively help regulate your body’s inflammatory response. Please keep in mind pain, whether acute or chronic, can be an indicator of other serious conditions, so it is always recommended that you consult your trusted healthcare provider for an evaluation and to discuss changes in your health routine.
By Dr. Amber York, contributing writer and Life University graduate specializing in low force adjusting at Towne Lake Family Chiropractic.