In the UK, approximately 10 million people have been diagnosed with arthritis. Here at Pain UK, our mission is to try and support everyone with a painful condition.
Winter is fast approaching, and as the cold weather settles in, it can exacerbate joint and muscle pain. For older people with chronic conditions, keeping their diet as healthy as possible can be hard but can be beneficial to their pain levels.
Did you know inflammation is one of the biggest culprits behind winter pain? But incorporating omega-3-rich foods into your diet can help to combat it. Fatty fish like salmon and proteins like walnuts are all anti-inflammatory ingredients that can be easily added to recipes. You can also try regularly eating colourful fruits and vegetables like berries, spinach, and kale. These are packed with antioxidants that can alleviate some of the pain.
Dehydration can exacerbate joint pain and muscle stiffness. It’s easy to forget to drink enough water in the winter when the weather is colder, which is why it’s even more important to make sure you do. If you’re struggling, try herbal teas, soups, and foods that contain a lot of water, like celery and watermelon.
You can also carry a reusable water bottle around if you tend to forget to drink regularly, or even set a reminder on your phone.
Spice It Up
There are certain spices that contain inflammatory properties, all while warming you up during winter. Turmeric is known to have an active anti-inflammatory ingredient called curcumin. which is also found in ginger. It’s remedial and can be thrown into lots of recipes like soups and stews for a delicious kick.
Monitor Your Sugar Intake
Excessive sugar intake is never encouraged, and in this case, it can promote chronic inflammation. Eating sugar in moderate doses is fine, but overindulging causes the body to produce more cytokines, which are inflammatory proteins. People who are diagnosed with arthritis already have a high number of cytokines, so this can make it even worse. If you typically have sugar in your beverages or cooking, try and reduce it. It is not a useful food.
Research Your Recipes
There are plenty of warming winter meals that can boost your immune system while relaxing your body and boosting your vitamin intake. Finding recipes that incorporate lots of proteins, vegetables and fruit doesn’t have to mean salads. Soups and bone broths are an easy and nourishing way to recharge your body and can be easily bulk made and frozen for later use. This is especially helpful for those who find it tiring to cook every day and struggle to keep up with a regular feeding routine.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Excess weight can put severe strain on joints and muscles, which can further impact pain as well as other factors like mobility. Although your body needs extra energy during the colder months, especially for the elderly, you can gain extra energy through healthier options rather than quick releases of sugar.
Nutritious and calorific meals will allow your body to store enough energy and fat without it impacting your weight to the point of worry. Winter doesn’t also mean you need to hibernate – regular exercises that improves circulation will help your joints to stiffen less.
Winter can be a challenging season for seniors dealing with pain and discomfort, but it’s also an opportunity to make positive changes in your diet to manage these issues. Think about what you can improve in your diet, whether that’s what you’re eating or not eating, and also consider how you are helping your body in other ways.