Posts Tagged ‘diet’


No one can argue that Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) isn’t extremely painful. Medical companies, Scientists and Physicians continually do their best to come up with new and improved medications to slow the crippling effects of the disease and manage pain while Rheumatologists work hard to determine the most beneficial combinations of those medications to treat your RA.

You have a personal responsibility as someone diagnosed with RA to manage your disease to the best of your ability as your team of doctors and supporters can’t be with you every single moment of your day. It’s been proven time and time again that diet and exercise can help control the feelings of fatigue, pain and inflammation that go hand and hand with a diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Eating foods infused with the right vitamins and/or taking oral supplements is just the first step to controlling your disease. The second major step to controlling your RA is to exercise regularly and to do so smartly. This doesn’t mean you should necessarily be out there running marathons. We have arthritis people, which means we need to adjust our exercise regimens to protect our joints as much as possible. Speed walking, weight training, elliptical work, martial arts, yoga and swimming are just a few examples of ways to get your heart moving without damaging your joints. Yoga however is my preferred method of exercise.

The John Hopkins Center for Arthritis indicates that “yoga can be a meaningful and enjoyable alternative to traditional forms of exercise such as aerobics or aquatic exercise with important health benefits. Yoga can play an important role in reducing stress and frustration that results from pain and disability, and increasing positive feelings and wellbeing. Drug treatments for OA and RA have improved markedly in the last few years. Despite this, arthritis cannot be cured, and even the best medications and medical care can only help so much. There is a great need for additional activities patients can do to reduce pain, disability, and take control of the overall impact arthritis may have on their lives. Thus, the evidence suggests that, when combined with a program of good medical care, yoga may provide important additional physical and psychological health benefits for arthritis patients. Scientists at Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center hope to be at the forefront of exploring this relationship through rigorously conducted clinical research trials.”

I’ve personally found yoga to be a God send in my RA treatment plan. Not only does it make my body stronger while increasing my energy levels, but it also calms my mind and picks up my spirits. Yoga is an emotional getaway for many people, especially those with chronic diseases. If you allow your practice to take over your mind and your body, you can truly escape to a place where pain and other negative feelings are non-existent… even if just for an hour.

On that note,
Namas-De my dear readers.

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Although there are some miracle prescription drugs on the market which can help curtail the crippling effects of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), there is still no cure for this chronic disease. No one knows exactly why some people end up permanently crippled while others can live somewhat normal lives with few minor adjustments. No matter the severity of the RA, we must continue balancing our lives to the best of our abilities. This means we must work, raise our kids, nurture romantic relationships, maintain friendships, deal with finances and go to school… Yes, all of the easy “normal people things” must still be managed while undergoing those ever annoying surprise RA flare-ups and constant pain.

Diet and exercise, along with your prescription medications can be instrumental in controlling the effects of RA.

Fish

There is strong evidence suggesting that omega 3-fatty acids can act as an anti-inflammatory agent thus helping to reduce pain and stiffness. That being said, fish should be consumed regularly by those with RA. Nutritionists recommend 2-3 meals of fatty fish per week. If you absolutely hate the taste of fish, try supplementing the dish for fish oil capsules instead.

Folic Acid

Rheumies should get a daily dose of Folic Acid, especially when taking methotrexate. Folic Acid helps your body manufacture red blood cells. Deficiency can lead to anemia, weight loss, loss of appetite and diarrhea. Natural sources of Folic Acid come from green leafy vegetables, as well as some fortified grains like cereal.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an anti-oxidant vitamin that can help prevent cartilage break-down. Vitamin C deficiency is detrimental to immune function. Since RA is an autoimmune, persons with RA should get regular doses of Vitamin C.

Vitamin B6

All B vitamins are water soluble meaning the body doesn’t store them. These vitamins are important because they help the body convert food into fuel. Vitamin B6 is especially important for nervous system health as it helps regulate brain development and function. Dietary sources of vitamin B6 come from poultry (chicken and turkey), seafood (shrimp, salmon and tuna) as well as beans, spinach, carrots, brown rice, wheat germ and whole-grain flower. In supplement form, 50 mg can be taken daily.

Vitamin D

If unable to spend 15 minutes per day in the sun, RA patients are strongly urged to integrate vitamin D supplements into their treatment plan. Vitamin D is such a beneficial vitamin to rheumies because it assists the body in absorbing calcium thus maintaining stronger, healthier bones.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is recommended to rheumies as it can clean free radicals while also fighting joint inflammation. While this vitamin doesn’t by any means prevent RA or all flare-ups, it has been known to give relief to some rheumies. If you want to avoid supplements and take the more natural route, eat plenty of asparagus, avocado, eggs, milk, nuts, spinach and whole grains to get your healthy doss of vitamin E.

Since taking all the supplements above might seem a little overwhelming at times, especially given the large number of pills you already ingest daily for RA, I recommend considering one daily multivitamin vitamin along with a healthy diet. Eating a combination of the foods mentioned above can help raise our vitamin intake to suggested rheumy levels. After all, we are what we eat.

Has anyone tried treating their RA with any of the “special” joint juices on the market? Tell me about your experience. Was it glam or scam?