Does diet play a role in joint pain? This is controversial, and the Arthritis Foundation, whose stance in the past has been that diet does not play a role, is beginning to hedge that indeed the pain caused by arthritis may be related to at least the quality of the diet which reflects the person's overall health.
James Balch, MD and his wife, Phyllis, a Certified Nutritional Counselor, in their landmark book A Prescription For Nutritional Healing discuss diet extensively and make these recommendations:
A clean diet that does not include a lot of processed heavily fatted foods is vital.
Avoid milk: milk being a very allergic food causes the body, and especially the liver, a great deal of distress. The added vitamin D is also a problem. Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin needed only in minute amounts. Stored in the liver, in excess it is clinically proven to cause joint pain.
Those of you who know me know I do not spout vegetarianism for everyone; it is not for everyone but when you look at nutrition from purely a clinical standpoint, (one that examines and is concerned with the nutrition of the cells), we are not designed to handle and utilize as much protein as we are led to believe. Protein being what we call an acid ash food requires alkaline ash minerals to balance it. The body, in particularly the blood, must remain slightly alkaline at all times. When we eat a large acid ash meal of protein the blood will begin to pull alkaline ash minerals, namely calcium, magnesium, potassium and others to balance the acid. If these minerals are not readily present in our cells as they are in our youth, the blood stream will begin to rob from any source it can to balance itself including bone and joints.
This causes not only thinning of the bones known as osteoporosis but wear on joints because they are weaker, less dense. Yes, we can replace those minerals by using supplements but it is much better for the body to simply cut back on the amount of protein consumed. Most experts agree that some form of animal flesh 3-7 times weekly is more than sufficient and gives the digestive organs some much needed rest from all that work. The energy not consumed by digestion can be used for other things including joint restoration.
Many experts agree, and it may be worth your time to experiment with a diet that is free of nightshade vegetables. Those would include cayenne, green and other kinds of peppers, eggplant, tomatoes and potatoes. These vegetables contain a toxin called sotanine that some people, particularly those suffering from arthritis, are highly sensitive to. Sotanine interferes with enzymes in the muscles, and may cause pain and discomfort.
Another culprit is iron. It is suspected to be involved in pain, swelling and joint destruction. Use natural forms beet juice is good or blackstrap molasses, broccoli, fish, limas and peas.
As we women approach the peri-menopausal phase of our lives, many of us begin to experience some joint swelling and discomfort, especially in the hands. If you are short on estrogen you may or may not be having other symptoms and it may be worthwhile discussing your symptoms with your gynecologist. Yet many of us are really short on the hormone progesterone which helps our bodies shed unwanted toxins at the end of our cycle. If these toxins are not shed the toxins will begin to "back up" in the body causing distress throughout including the joints.
Here it will help you to understand if you think of the joints like the end of a large river or delta bed. Debris is dumped at the end of the delta bed crystals of unwanted calcium etc which cause pain, stiffness and swelling. A natural progesterone cream has recently come on the market made from the Mexican wild yam and can bring much needed relief.
If you are experiencing joint discomfort and are unsure if diet plays a role, I challenge you to a test. Journal what you are eating daily for three months while all the time you are varying your diet enough and in a wide enough cycle (repeating foods, especially night shades and dairy no more once every three days) and see what happens. I think you will be encouraged.
Till next time, Rebecca.