As chief executive officer, Kelley Hamilton of Bonaventure Senior Living knows that many seniors suffer from arthritis. Arthritis is an inflammatory disease of the joints and connective tissue. The disease can deform joints and render people immobile, says Kelley Hamilton, Bonaventure CEO. Due to inflammation, arthritis causes noticeable pain, heat and swelling of the joints. Women are three times more likely affected than men. Depending on the severity of the disease, morning stiffness can occur, which sometimes stays throughout the day. According to Kelley Hamilton of Bonaventure, a targeted selection of food can help relieve arthritis symptoms. Today, Kelley Hamilton of Bonaventure joins A Gathering of Experts to discuss how to create a diet for arthritis and which foods can ease aching joints.
A Gathering of Experts: Thank you for being with us today.
Kelley Hamilton, Bonaventure CEO: It’s my pleasure.
A Gathering of Experts: Arthritis is one of the most common health problems in the U.S. Is it just an older person’s condition?
Kelley Hamilton, Bonaventure CEO: Arthritis can affect anyone at any age—not just seniors. It’s true that the incidence of arthritis increases with age, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 3 out of every 5 arthritis patients are younger than age 65.
A Gathering of Experts: What exactly is arthritis?
Kelley Hamilton, Bonaventure CEO: A faulty immune system causes inflammation of the joints. Initially, mostly the small finger and toe joints are affected. They begin to ache suddenly, swell and feel warmer than usual. Usually, the pain in the second half of the night and morning are particularly strong.
A Gathering of Experts: Can arthritis be prevented or cured?
Kelley Hamilton, Bonaventure CEO: You cannot prevent rheumatoid arthritis and it’s not yet curable. But more and more people can live with less pain through early treatment and a healthy lifestyle.
A Gathering of Experts: What is the relationship between diet and arthritis?
Kelley Hamilton, Bonaventure CEO: Some scientific studies have demonstrated a general correlation between nutrition and arthritis. It is undisputed that foods containing arachidonic acid have an inflammation-promoting effect. These, for example, include eggs.
A Gathering of Experts: So certain foods can positively impact the course of the disease?
Kelley Hamilton, Bonaventure CEO: Yes, nutrition is an important addition to the therapy protocol for arthritis. Anti-inflammatory foods such as the omega-3 fatty acids should be included in the diet. Herring, salmon or trout are especially rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
A Gathering of Experts: What symptoms can be relieved with the right diet?
Kelley Hamilton, Bonaventure CEO: Research studies have proven that swelling, excess heat and pain can be relieved with an appropriate diet.
A Gathering of Experts: What other foods should be included?
Kelley Hamilton, Bonaventure CEO: Fruits and vegetables, because many of them contain antioxidants. The best effect is achieved if vitamins are absorbed through the consumption of plant foods vs. supplements.
A Gathering of Experts: What foods should be avoided?
Kelley Hamilton, Bonaventure CEO: Consumption of fatty meat, processed foods, or sausages should be restricted.
A Gathering of Experts: Is weight a contributing factor to arthritis?
Kelley Hamilton, Bonaventure CEO: A change of diet can lead to weight loss, which means fewer pounds on the aching joints.
Kelley Hamilton, Bonaventure CEO, makes sure that chefs at the senior living communities prepare meals rich in fruits and vegetables for their residents. Kelley Hamilton of Bonaventure says that low-fat dairy products are also on the daily menu. Alcohol and nicotine should be avoided at all costs, notes Kelley Hamilton of Bonaventure. According to Kelley Hamilton, Bonaventure residents and other patients can use good diet to support their drug therapy and improve the long-term course of the disease. Kelley Hamilton of Bonaventure lives in Oregon.