Diet and lifestyle guide for dealing with “Arthritis”

 

                           The number of people suffering from arthritis is on the rise. We all know at least one person in our family who is suffering from this health condition hence I decided to write about “Arthritis”. Hope you all will find this information helpful.

                            The word Arthritis comes from two Greek words “athron” which means “joints” and “itis”  meaning inflammation. So in simple words, arthritis is the inflammation of joints. Experts call this a “chronic” disease process. Our joints are divided into two categories. Synarthrosis, or the joints which do not move very much and do not have a cavity and Diarthrosis, which move freely and have a joint cavity. The first type of joints are found in head and spinal column and the second type is found in shoulders, elbows, wrists, fingers, knees, ankles and toes. It is this second type which is known to be frequently affected by arthritis. The two most frequent forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease known to result from the structural changes in the articular in the joints, such as spine and knees. Here the smooth covering on the end of the bones become damaged or worn. In rheumatoid arthritis the joint lining become inflamed. Rheumatoid arthritis affects not only the joints of the fingers, wrists,hips, knee and feet but also affects the muscles, tendons and other tissues of the body (H.K.Bakhru,2007) (http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00208).

Diet, lifestyle and “ARTHRITIS” :

Naturopaths and holistic healing experts have been, since years, stressing the importance of diet and lifestyle in living with arthritis. Today, the leading arthritis specialists also believe that “faulty diet may be at the roots of these diseases and correcting it can relieve the symptoms” (Dr. H.K. Bakhru, 2007).

Experts recommend a low calorie diet which is more on the alkaline side with minimum carbohydrate content.  A diet consisting of fruits and vegetables for protection and proteins and carbohydrates for energy is recommended. Vegetables that may be included are  cabbage, carrots,celery, cucumber, lettuce, onions, radishes and water cress as raw salads and asparagus,beets (if high sugar is not an issue), cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, celery, onions, spinach and squash as cooked vegetables (Dr.H.K. Bakhru, 2007).

 Alfalfa, Aloe Vera, Apple,Garlic,Ginger, Grapes, Indian Gooseberry/Amla, Turmeric,Lemon grass, long pepper, onions and sesame seeds are few of the many foods known to be helpful in arthritic conditions. Intake of calcium, vitamin A and vitamin D are also shown to be helpful in arthritis. Orange, papaya, carrot, whole milk , green leafy vegetables, tomatoes and raw bananas are rich sources of vitamin A.  Exposure of the skin to natural sunshine is a good way to get vitamin D. It has been shown by several studies that calcium is helpful in arthritic conditions (H.K.Bakhru,2007, Haas & Levin,1992 ).

Some foods that are shown to be harmful for people with arthritis are: Aerated waters of all kinds, sugar, red meats, pastries, cakes, white bread and other white flour products, coffee, cheese except cottage cheese, eggs and vegetables from nightshade family like, Eggplant, bell peppers, tomatoes.

Experts believe that giving up meat and other non-vegetarian foods and adding more fruits and vegetable in the diet can be helpful in dealing with arthritis. Dr. Jens Kjeldsen-Kragh,M.D., of the Institute of Immunology and Rheumatology at the National Rheumatism Hospital of Oslo, did a study about the benefits of vegetarian foods in arthritis and found that switching to vegetarian diet improved grip strength, joint swelling, tenderness and morning stiffness in about ninety percent of a group of arthritic patients, compared with controlled eating and ordinary diet (H.K.Bakhru, 2007).

Exercise is of equal importance in dealing with arthritis along with good nutrition. Experts advice light exercises such as walking, cycling and swimming as well as maintaining a normal body weight to be beneficial in dealing with arthritis (H.K.Bakhru,2007).

** The above information is for educational purposes only and should not be used to diagnose, treat or mitigate a disease. Consult your doctor for specific medical advice, diagnosis, treatment,  advice on diet, herb or exercise. **

References:

1. Bakhru, H.K. (2007). Healing through natural foods. Mumbai, India: Jaico publishing house.

2. Bakhru,H.K.(2007). Naturopathy for Longevity. Mumbai, india: Jaico publishing house.

3.Haas, E.M, Levin, B. (1992).  Staying healthy with Nutrition. Berkley: Celestial Arts.

4. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00208

 

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