NATURAL WAYS TO PREVENT ARTHRITIS
Arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that attacks the joints in the body. When arthritis is present, symptoms include pain, swelling, inflammation, redness and stiffness—joints can even become disfigured. Although there are many ways to treat arthritis, one of the best options is prevention.
When you are obese or overweight, you increase your risk factors for debilitating diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and certain types of cancer. If that’s not bad enough, you are also putting a lot of extra weight on your joints. This constant excess pressure can increase your chances of getting arthritis. To keep your weight down, keep your calories down. Avoid foods that are energy dense, such as desserts, deep-fried foods, processed baked goods and refined foods. Chose nutrient and energy dense fruits, vegetables, lean meats, low-fat dairy, fish and whole grains.
Exercise is as important as nutrition when it comes to keeping your weight down. It can also keep your joints moving and reduce the chances of them becoming stiff. Perform exercise that involve using your range of motion, such as weight training, walking, swimming, elliptical training, rowing and stair stepping. To keep your joints even more preserved, avoid repetitive high-impact activities like jumping.
Stretching can help you maintain flexibility in the muscles and connective tissue around your joints. Just like exercise, this can make them less prone to becoming stiff and developing arthritis. A good way to stretch the whole body is by taking yoga classes or getting a DVD and practicing at home. Yoga consists of holding poses for a set number of breathes, during which time there is no movement and, therefore, no impact on the joints.
When the body is dehydrated, it can affect a lot of areas, including the joints. They need water for lubrication and shock absorption. Avoid heavy amounts of beverages that act as diuretics, like coffee, tea, soft drinks and alcohol. Replace them with water. The Institute of Medicine recommends that women get 2.7 total liters of water per day; men, 3.7 liters.
Avoid High-Impact Jobs
If you have a job where you are constantly kneeling or are on your feet, you can increase your chances of getting arthritis. Always protect your knees with padding when there is going to be a lot of stress on them. Avoid any high impact or contact activities with all of your other joints as well.
Natural Pain Relief & Diets for Arthritis
Arthritis is a common condition that affects the joints of your body. The foods you eat are essential to how your body functions and may impact your pain levels. Therefore it is important that you eat a variety of healthy foods and make sure you are getting the required vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that can help your body function at its optimal level.
Diet and Arthritis
If you suffer from joint pain caused by arthritis, eating a healthy diet is very important to your overall health. The pain of arthritis can affect your diet, because fatigue and pain can lower your appetite and the swollen joints and loss of movement may lead you to avoid foods that need more time or effort to prepare and cook. An arthritis diet should be composed of seven basic guidelines. First, eat a variety of foods like fruits, vegetables, fish, whole grains, nuts, seeds and healthy vegetable oil. Second, maintain an ideal weight. Excess weight can place more stress on joints that are already sore and damaged. Third, avoid foods high in fat and cholesterol, which include animal products and foods with high saturated and trans fat. Fourth, avoid foods high in sugar to help control insulin and contribute to a healthy body weight. Fifth, eat foods that contain healthy fiber and starch, like fruits and vegetables. Sixth, avoid high levels of sodium to lower your risk of heart disease. Seventh, limit excess alcohol and drink in moderation. If you eat a variety of foods like those listed above and avoid processed foods, you will ensure that your body has all the essential nutrients that it needs to function properly. This will lower your risk for developing chronic illness.
No foods have been shown to specifically exacerbate the symptoms of arthritis, but if certain foods make your symptoms worse, avoid them. The diet that is recommended for people with arthritis is not specifically for pain relief but is instead designed for healthy nutrition. This diet does contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish and some plants like flaxseed. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and may help lower the risk of arthritis and help with pain levels.
Arthritis pain can be very uncomfortable and your doctor will work with you to make sure that any medications or other treatments help relieve your symptoms. According to the experts at MayoClinic.com, natural ways to control your arthritis pain include exercise, weight loss and using hot and cold to soothe sore muscles and treat inflammation. Forms of alternative medicine that may work include chiropractic care, acupuncture, tai chi and yoga. Some natural foods that may help include ginger for osteoarthritis pain, avocado-soybean unsaponifiables from avocado and soybean oil for cartilage damage and glucosamine and chondroitin for osteoarthritis pain.
ARTHRITIS NATURAL REMEDIES
Avocado Soybean Unsaponifiables
Avocado soybean unsaponifiables (ASU) is made from the extract of soybean and avocado oils. It appears to help with inflammation, according to the Arthritis Foundation. In addition, the “Journal of Rheumatology” published a study in 2003 that showed ASU to slow the deterioration of cartilage and possibly even repair it.
Bromelain, made from an enzyme found in pineapple can help with pain and inflammation. A 2005 study conducted in Germany also showed bromelain helped to boost the immune system and protect against infection. This natural remedy, however, can be dangerous when taken with blood thinners.
Cat’s claw is made from the root bark found in a woody vine and then dried. It is found in Peru’s Amazon rain forests. Researchers there believe it has anti-inflammatory properties. A paper published in the “Journal of Rheumatology” quoted a study that showed cat’s claw reduced swelling and pain in the joints.
Glucosamine and Chondroitin
Glucosamine is made from the shells of crustaceans like shrimp and crab while chondroitin is derived from pork or bovine sources. The Glucosamine/Chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial (GAIT) conducted by the National Institutes of Health illustrated that, when the supplements are taken together, they can decrease pain and inflammation, as well as improve joint mobility.
Devil’s claw is an herb that originated in South Africa. The international journal “Phytomedicine” reported on a 2002 study of more than 200 people with osteoarthritis, knee, hip or back pain who used devil’s claw. The majority reported a decrease in their pain and mobility. The Arthritis Foundation also believes that devil’s claw may help those with gout.
The oil made from cold water fish, like salmon, tuna and mackerel, has been found to be helpful with an array of health problems, including arthritis. More than a half dozen studies have shown enough improvement among those with rheumatoid arthritis that they could cut down on their prescription anti-inflammatory medication.
The root of the ginger plant has been shown to inhibit inflammation, according to the Arthritis Foundation. In addition, it is used to reduce nausea, fight stomach ulcers and increase the circulation of those with Reynaud’s phenomenon, a form of arthritis that affects the fingers and toes.
The stem and leaves of the stinging nettle are used to make pills and extracts or tea that can be taken internally or applied directly to the skin. A study conducted in Germany showed that the leaf has an anti-inflammatory substance especially helpful in joint diseases such as arthritis.
Turmeric is a spice ground from the roots of the plant by the same name. It has been used for centuries in Indian and Chinese medicine as a treatment for arthritis. The Arthritis Foundation reports that a number of studies have shown that it reduces inflammation and may improve the immune system.—-sruthi venkat