Joints and Mobility
Joints are the places where bones connect, allowing our bodies to move. In healthy joints, there’s a firm rubbery coating called cartilage at the end of the bones to act as a cushion. The body is designed so that there’s enough “empty space” around joints to allow the bones to move freely. If the tissues around the joint become inflamed, that space is made smaller. Movement hurts when bones are pushing up against tissue instead of moving freely.
Persistent inflammation can lead to chronic health challenges, and any health conditions that end in “itis,” involve inflammation in the body. Osteoarthritis is when cartilage in one or more joints breaks down over time, causing bones to rub together and causing pain, inflammation, and stiffness. Bone rubbing against bone, without cartilage to cushion them, causes pain. Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the membrane surrounding the joints. This can cause the flesh around the joints to swell up, making the space smaller. Over time, the autoimmune response can damage cartilage as well.
Injuries can also cause joint pain and swelling. This usually goes away when the injury heals, but the site of the injury is more prone to developing osteoarthritis later. For life-long healthy joints, it’s important to use appropriate protective gear in sports and learn the right techniques to minimize the risk of injury as well as to eat right to support your body, incorporating as many beneficial foods into your weekly meal plans as well as avoiding harmful dietary lectins which cause inflammatory responses in the body.
As a quick refresher, lectins are proteins found in many foods. They often react chemically with blood type antigens; the molecules found on the outside of red blood cells. Many lectins are harmful for one blood type while being neutral or helpful for another. Other lectins are harmful for all types, or don’t cause reactions in the body at all.
When following the Blood Type Diet, you’re limiting the harmful lectins in your diet, while increasing the helpful ones. Eating and exercising right for your type can also promote healthy joints and mobility, optimal weight maintenance and overall vitality.
Studies consistently show that aerobic exercise can reduce joint swelling. Strength training builds muscle, helping to support and protect arthritic joints. Physical exercise also promotes lean muscle mass and reduces weight, thus lightening the load on stressed joints.
Regular exercise, including both aerobic exercise and weight training, is essential for healthy joints. Blood Type O benefits tremendously from brisk exercise that taxes the cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems. In general, Os don’t benefit as much from gentler exercises such as yoga or Tai Chi, but individuals with arthritis or chronic illnesses will benefit from ANY amount of regular movement, even the exercises generally recommended for other types.
Blood Type A should focus on calming exercises such as yoga and tai chi, and light aerobic exercises such as walking. For Blood Types B and AB, stress regulation and overall fitness are achieved with a balance of moderate aerobic activity and mentally soothing, stress reducing exercises.
If you are not accustomed to exercising or your condition is severe, start slowly and do as much as you can, striving to increase your time and endurance as you gain flexibility and strength.
For more information, including a complete listing of foods, supplements, and exercise recommendations for each blood type, you can refer to my book Arthritis: Fight It with the Blood Type Diet. A complete listing of the foods for the Blood Type Diet can also be found on the Type Base.
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