Arthritis is a leading cause of disability in North America.
Pain and stiffness are the leading symptoms, and millions of people seek
relief from arthritis every year.
CONTRARY TO POPULAR BELIEF, ARTHRITIS IS NOT A DISEASE OF OLD AGE.
The Arthritis Foundation says one in every five adults has arthritis, two-thirds of whom are under the age of 65. A complex family of musculoskeletal disorders, arthritis consists of more than 100 different diseases that destroy joints, bones, muscles, cartilage, and other connective tissues. This can compromise physical movement and lead to pain. Arthritis may result from the wearing down of joints and connective tissue through repetitive movement or injury, but it may also be the result of an autoimmune disease. Rheumatoid arthritis, for example, is caused by the body’s own immune system attacking the membranes around joints, particularly in the hands and feet.
Treating a complex condition like arthritis involves reducing pain and improving mobility. While pain medications can be prescribed to treat arthritis, there are also other more natural ways to handle arthritis:
Arthritis causes inflammation in the joints and connective tissues, so it makes sense that reducing inflammation could ease symptoms. Eating foods high in fiber can help maintain natural balance in the gut, Moreover, recent research suggests that people who eat high-fiber diets have less osteoarthritis pain.
Fruits: bananas, oranges, apples, mangoes, strawberries and raspberries.
Vegetables: Generally, the darker the color, the higher the fibre content. Fill up your shopping cart with carrots, beets, broccoli, collard greens, swiss chard, spinach, artichokes and potatoes.
Beans and legumes are flavorful, fibre-filled additions to salads, soups, and chilis. Navy, white, garbanzo, kidney, peas or lentils are all healthy choices.
Foods that do not cause a rapid elevation in blood sugar are considered low-glycemic foods. These foods contain lots of fiber and break down slowly. Examples include potatoes, oatmeal and vegetables.
High in healthy fats.
Avocados, nuts, seeds, and olives are all plant-based whole foods high in healthy fats. Fish, such as salmon, and some oils, such as olive oil, are also considered to be sources of healthy fats by most experts.
Low in sugar.
A whole-foods, plant-based diet will be naturally low in sugars, such as corn syrup, which is known to cause inflammation.
Low in or free of dairy.
Dairy products are a great source of calcium and other nutrients, but they also happen to cause inflammation in many people.
High in Omega 3 fatty acids.
Studies have associated omega 3 intake with arthritis symptom relief. Omega 3s are found naturally in many foods, including but not limited to flax seed, chia seed, seaweed, walnuts, Atlantic salmon, and certain other types of fish.
INFLAMMATORY FOODS TO AVOID
According to many experts, certain foods seem to promote inflammation and should be avoided.
Processed foods, such as commercial baked goods and many prepackaged meals
Refined grain products, such as white bread and white pasta
Refined sugar and refined sugar products, such as candy and soda
Certain oils, including corn, safflower, soy, and peanut oils
Dry roasted nuts and beer nuts
Grocery stores are filled with processed foods and sugary drinks, this list is merely a guideline. People are encouraged to read food labels and avoid foods that contain ingredients such as refined sugar, corn syrup, refined flour, and corn oils.
USE HOT AND COLD TREATMENTS
Studies have shown that hot and cold treatments can reduce swelling, relax muscles and relieve pain. Cold packs can numb sore areas and should be used when symptoms come on suddenly. Heat sources, in contrast, can help ease pain gradually and limber up tight joints and muscles. Always use a towel or barrier between a cold or hot pack and the skin to avoid injury.
WHY IS PHYSICAL ACTIVITY IMPORTANT FOR PEOPLE WITH ARTHRITIS?
If you have arthritis, participating in joint-friendly physical activity can improve your arthritis pain, function, mood, and quality of life. Joint-friendly physical activities are low-impact, which means they put less stress on the body, reducing the risk of injury. Examples of joint-friendly activities include walking, biking and swimming. Being physically active can also delay the onset of arthritis-related disability and help people with arthritis manage other chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
Stay as active as your health allows, some physical activity is better than none. Always consult with a doctor before beginning an exercise regimen to find out if it is right for your condition. Once you get the green light, start out gradually.
Being overweight can put added pressure on joints and cause more pain. Shedding a few pounds may be all it takes to get substantial relief from pain associated with arthritis. Many natural therapies can effectively alleviate arthritis pain.
Talk to a doctor if your symptoms are affecting your quality of life. W