A Natural Approach To Health
Eating For Arthritis
We had a question the other day about arthritis.
Arthritis is the inflammation of one or more joints.
It’s usually accompanied by pain and stiffness, especially in the morning or after exercise, as well as swelling, deformity, and/or a diminished range of motion.
Arthritic joints may make noise when they move.
Joints affected by rheumatoid arthritis tend to make a sound like crinkling cellophane, and osteoarthritic joints make popping, clicking, and banging noises.
The term arthritis literally means “joint inflammation,” but arthritis really refers to a group of over 100 rheumatic conditions causing pain, stiffness, and swelling in the joints.
If left undiagnosed and untreated, arthritis can cause irreversible damage to your joints.
These are the main types of arthritis: osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, gout, lupus, Lyme disease, juvenile arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, bursitis, scleroderma, Reiter’s syndrome, infectious arthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome, and ankylosing spondylitis.
These conditions affect your body’s movable, or synovial, joints at your knees, wrists, elbows, fingers, toes, hips, and shoulders.
Your neck and back also have joints between the bones of your spine.
Fluid is secreted by a thin membrane, the synovial membrane, lining the inside of the joint capsule.
Because of this fluid, and the smooth, rubbery, cartilage covering the ends of your bones, the bones within your joint normally glide smoothly past one another.
In healthy joints, the synovial membrane is thin, the cartilage covering the bones is smooth, and a thin layer of synovial fluid covers your bone surfaces.
A problem in any of these areas can result in arthritis.
Moving the joint usually hurts, although sometimes there’s only stiffness.
Ninety percent of people with arthritis have OA.
Osteoarthritis involves deterioration of the cartilage protecting the ends of your bones.
It’s sometimes caused by injury or an inherited defect.
More commonly, it’s the result of the wear and tear of aging, diet, and lifestyle.
Osteoarthritis not only affects your weight-bearing joints – knees, hips, and back – severely, but also commonly affects your hands and knuckles.
Fractures become an increasing risk because osteoarthritis makes your bones brittle.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder, usually affecting women and girls.
Your immune system inaccurately identifies the synovial membrane as “foreign.”
Inflammation, pain, and eventual destruction of cartilage ensue.
Damaged tissue is replaced by scar tissue and bones fuse together.
Arthritis can also be caused by bacterial, viral, or fungal infection of a joint.
The spondyloarthropathies are a group of rheumatic disorders affecting your spine.
Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is the most common of these.
In this disorder, certain joints of the spine become inflamed, then stiffen and become rigid.
Fish oil taken in large doses (4.55 grams of omega-3s a day) has been shown to reduce symptoms, allowing people to feel and function better.
Gout, an acute form of inflammatory arthritis, occurs most often in people who’re overweight and/or who indulge regularly in rich foods and alcohol.
It typically attacks the smaller joints of your feet and hands, especially your big toe.
Some forms of arthritis can be reversible, and in some cases curable, with proper diet and lifestyle changes.
These simple changes can not only relieve the inflammation and pain but also stop degeneration and rejuvenate the affected joints.
To deal with arthritis it’s beneficial to:
*Drink 6-8 cups of purified water every day to hydrate your cells.
*Alfalfa contains all the minerals essential for bone formation, and may be helpful for arthritis. It can be taken in capsules or in whole, natural form.
*Boswellia is important for reducing inflammation. It also helps restore blood vessels around inflamed connective tissue.
*Ginger is a powerful antioxidant with anti-inflammatory effects.
*The hot pepper known as cayenne contain a compound called capsaicin that relieves pain.
*Noni has been used for more than 2,000 years for pain, arthritis, and other health problems.
*Turmeric contains curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. The recommended dose is 600 mg daily.
*Willow bark and fish oil are also good for pain and inflammation.
*Other beneficial herbs include brigham tea, buchu leaves, burdock root, celery seed, corn silk, devil’s claw tea, parsley tea, and yucca.
*Eat more sulfur-containing foods, like asparagus, eggs, garlic, and onions. Other beneficial foods include fresh vegetables (especially green leafy vegetables), nonacidic fresh fruits, whole grains, oatmeal, brown rice, fish, soybean products, and avocados. Also, tart red cherries can relieve pain and inflammation. Eat about 20 cherries each day. If you can’t find fresh cherries, frozen are fine.
*Eat foods containing the amino acid histidine, including rice, wheat, and rye. Histidine is good for removing excess metals from your body. Many people with arthritis have high levels of copper and iron in their bodies.
*Eat fresh pineapple frequently. Bromelain, an enzyme found in pineapple, is excellent for reducing inflammation.
*Eat some form of fiber, like ground flaxseeds, oat bran, or rice brain, daily.
*Reduce the amount of fat in your diet. Don’t consume milk, dairy products, or red meat. Also avoid caffeine, citrus fruits, paprika, salt, tobacco, and everything containing sugar.
*Avoid nightshade vegetables (peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, white potatoes). These foods contain a substance to which some people, especially those suffering from arthritis, are highly sensitive.
*If you use ibuprofen or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, avoid sodium (salt), which causes water retention. Spread doses throughout the day and take them only after eating.
*Don’t take iron supplements, or a multivitamin containing iron. Consume iron in foods instead. Good sources include blackstrap molasses, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, fish, lima beans, and peas.
*For relief of pain, try using cold gel packs. Place them on inflamed joints. Alternate with heat.
*Hot tubs and baths may provide relief. Raw lemon rubs and hot castor oil packs are also extremely beneficial.
*In the morning, take a hot shower or bath to help relieve morning stiffness.
*Check for possible food allergies. Many sufferers of arthritis have found relief when they eliminate certain foods. Allergies trigger inflammation and can aggravate symptoms.
*Consider having a hair analysis to determine any toxic metals in your body. Lead levels have been found to be higher than normal in some arthritis sufferers.
*Get regular moderate exercise. Exercise is essential for reducing pain and slowing joint deterioration. Regular activity that doesn’t put stress on affected joints is valuable for many types of arthritis. Bicycle riding, walking, wand water exercises are good choices. Avoid weightbearing or impact exercises.
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