Arthritis Prevention Methods

Is arthritis prevention possible? The answer is both yes and no. While you may not be able to prevent arthritis entirely, if you get started early on with a good general nutrition, regular exercise, and a variety of other arthritis prevention tips, you can make a huge difference in when arthritis hit and how severe it gets.

Arthritis is partly hereditary and some forms of arthritis are not yet fully understood. Yet we do know that certain factors increase the likelihood of any given individual developing arthritis. We also know these same factors can make existing arthritis worse. Control these factors and you can reduce your chances of developing arthritis or, at the very least, you can stay active longer and slow the progress of the disease.

Here are some of the factors you can control in order to reduce the likelihood you will develop arthritis or reduce its severity if you do develop the illness:

    1. Lose weight

    When you carry extra weight you increase the wear and tear on major joints, especially the hips, knees, and small joints in the feet. Studies have shown that damage to any joint increases the likelihood that it will become arthritic. Maintaining a healthy weight can greatly reduce your chances of developing arthritis, or if you already have a diagnosis, weight loss can greatly reduce the pain and inflammation you experience. Many arthritis diets exist, but in general, aim for five or more servings each day of fresh fruits and vegetables, stick with lean meats and whole grains, and reduce or eliminate your intake of processed foods. Eat plenty of deep cold water fish like salmon and albacore tuna, or take a fish oil supplement each day to make sure you are getting the omega-3 fatty acids that promote joint health and flexibility

    2. Eat well

    Most Americans have atrocious diets, even when they are of normal weight. Cut down or eliminate your consumption of the following foods: saturated fats, transfats, salty foods, sugar, refined starches, processed foods, fried foods, and sweets. Instead, eat lots of fresh vegetables and fruits, lean meat, olive oil, nuts, and low-fat dairy. Take a vitamin supplement daily, as well as a fish oil tablet and a glucosamine-chondroitin supplement for maximum joint health.

    3. Exercise regularly

    You might think that exercise would harm your joints, but the opposite is true. Lack of exercise makes the muscles and tendons that support the joints weaker and makes you more prone to the kind of joint injury that can lead to arthritis. To prevent arthritis, you should get at least 30 minutes each day of weight bearing exercise (like walking, jogging, weight lifting or water exercise) and you should also do some arthritis exercise for flexibility (like yoga or tai chi) at least twice a week. If you develop these good habits before you develop arthritis, you will delay its onset and lessen its severity late in life.

    4. Other arthritis prevention tips

    Lots of herbal supplements are great for arthritis prevention. Glucosamine chondroitin can be safely taken before you ever have symptoms in order to keep your joints healthy. Ginger and garlic should be used liberally in cooking, since both are great for general health and are known to fight inflammation in the body. Vitamin E and magnesium/zinc supplements can also help your body stave off joint deterioration. All of these substances are modestly priced and available in the vitamin section of most pharmacies and supermarkets. Other arthritis prevention tips include getting enough rest, starting and sticking with a meditation practice to control the level of stress in your life, and getting regular medical check ups so that if you do develop symptoms, you can get an early diagnosis to slow the progress of the disease.

You can't control your heredity or fate, but you can control your diet, your exercise routine, and your stress level. You can take a healthy selection of supplements and get regular physical check ups. All of these together will keep you in the kind of shape that increases your quality of life whether you ever develop arthritis or not.

And if you do develop arthritis, maintaining a good quality of life is half the battle.

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