OHI Program Tip: Inflammation & Joint Health

Inflammation is a normal response triggered by the immune system to protect the body against injury and infection.  However, chronic inflammation — characterized by redness, swelling, heat, pain, and loss of function — is believed to contribute to conditions like arthritis, cancer, heart disease, and more.  Inflammation can occur in response to trauma, illness, and stress.

Inflammation can also be caused by unhealthy foods, including:

Sugar:  Research shows that when we eat sugar, it triggers the release of “inflammatory messengers” known as cytokines.

Saturated fat:  Research studies have proven that saturated fats trigger inflammation in fat cells called adipose tissue, which increases the inflammation associated with arthritis.

Refined carbohydrates:  Refined carbohydrates have been linked to higher levels of inflammatory markers in the blood.

When you eat these foods, the resulting inflammation attacks joint tissues and can cause joint swelling, increased joint fluid, cartilage and bone damage, and muscle loss.  Nerves in the joints are also activated, causing pain.  The inflammatory chemicals may directly activate other nerves of the body, and lead to pain as well.

What can you do about inflammation?

There are the four simple things you can do to help reduce inflammation overall, and improve your long-term joint health, and OHI’s program touches on each one to give inflammation the knock-out punch!

Eat anti-inflammatory foods:  Spring is a great time for a deep cleanse with OHI’s all-raw, organic, plant-based diet, allowing you to get a baseline for better health.  Our program eliminates the top three inflammation trigger foods of sugar, saturated fat, and refined carbohydrates, and focuses on nutritional superstars that rid the body of inflammation:

  • Wheatgrass juice: Wheatgrass is a major anti-inflammatory food.  Studies have found that chlorophyll, a compound found in wheatgrass, decreases inflammation.
  • Sprouts: Few foods can rival sprouts for their anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and detoxifying qualities.  Broccoli, mung bean, chia seed, red clover, lentil, and radish sprouts are integral to an inflammation-busting diet.
  • Healthy oils: While the OHI plan avoids fats overall, certain fats like omega-3 fatty acids are an excellent choice to help fight vascular inflammation.  Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in flaxseeds.
  • Water/hydration: Hydration helps our bodies flight inflammation by flushing out toxins.  Most of the water in our bodies is stored in joints and connective tissue (tendons, ligaments), where water acts as a lubricant.  When we get dehydrated, our bodies look for water in other areas, including our joints, and redistribute it where it’s needed.  Taking water from your joints enables toxins to remain, which fuels pain and inflammation.  So DRINK!  DRINK!  DRINK!

Take part in regular exercise

At OHI, our program places a huge emphasis on lymphatic exercise and stretching.  The lymphatic system needs your help to move the fluid through the body because it doesn’t have an automatic pump like the heart.  The lymphatic system is stimulated by gravity and muscle contraction, so moving your body is the key to moving fluid through the lymphatic system.  OHI guests take advantage of our daily Gentle Lymphatic Exercise class and Stretch class to beat back inflammation.

Get daily sleep

Sleep is the foundation for good health, and giving yourself complete rest every night is one of the best things that you can do to improve your wellbeing.  OHI teaches guests how to quiet and focus the mind so they can get the most rejuvenate rest possible.

Actively engage in stress management

OHI’s Guided Meditation Classes, Mental Detox class, Vision Board class, Rock Painting class, and the Pray, Eat, Live class are all great de-stressors.  Our practice of gratitude journaling is also a great choice to eliminate stress, and keep positive.

Make 2021 the year that inflammation becomes a thing of the past for you!

Our caring staff is eager to give you all the unconditional support, inspiration, and transformational tools you need to bring your body, mind, and spirit into healthy balance in a serene, peaceful setting. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org, and call us at (800) 588-0809 to make your reservation.

“7 Evidence-Based Benefits of Wheatgrass,” by Rachel Link, MS, RD, www.healthline.com

“Sprouting is the healthiest (and least expensive) thing you can do for your brain health,” by Ilene Ruhoy, MD, PhD, www.mindbodygreen.com

“Fats and Oils,” Arthritis Foundation, www.arthritis.org

“Fight Inflammation by Staying Hydrated, by Leslie LaPlace, Goodwin House, www.goodwinhouse.org

“Arthritis Overview,” Mayo Clinic, www.mayoclinic.org

“Causes of Inflammatory Joint Pain,” Arthritis Foundation, www.arthritis.org

“5 Classic Signs of Inflammation,” The Journal of Inflammation, www.ncbi.nim.nih.gov