Having to take medication to prevent the progression of rheumatoid arthritis at the expense of knowing the medication hurts other parts of our bodies feels like an unfair trap. If you have been living with rheumatoid arthritis for months, years or decades, there comes a time when you become obsessed with finding out how to manage this disease with more than just drugs. Lets be honest, the warnings and side effects of the drugs we take are frightening and a serious concern for all of us (and our families).
Natural rheumatoid arthritis pain management is a broad topic and can include natural anti-inflammatory herbs, vegetables, fruits, exercise, chondroitin, glucosamine, the use of physical aids, and much more. There is a lot of information out there about managing rheumatoid arthritis naturally with diet and exercise, so let’s dig in!
Natural Anti-Inflammatory Herbs
Find out as much as you can about natural anti-inflammatory herbs and roots. If you can find something that works for you it can be a huge help! Cayenne pepper, turmeric, and ginger are natural, excellent anti-inflammatory herbs that work for a lot of people. Health food stores sell powdered versions in capsules, or use them in your cooking if you want to. Another great way to integrate these foods into your diet is by drinking teas that incorporate these ingredients.
Omega-3 oils aim at lowering both the inflammation and pain of arthritis, and they can be highly effective. Integrating flax seeds, salmon and walnuts into your diet, which can all be found at your favorite health food store, is a great place to get started because these foods contain high levels of Omega-3s.
It is important to stay active to maintain mobility in your joints, but be sure to find low-impact exercises that will not leave you in pain the next day. Things like Pilates, water workouts, tai chi or yoga are good healthy options to look into. In addition to the benefits that exercise brings to your joints you are also benefitting your heart. It’s critical to engage in activities on a regular basis that get your heart rate up. Having rheumatoid arthritis puts you at a higher risk of developing heart disease and engaging in regular exercise will help keep your heart as healthy as possible.
Chondroitin & Glucosamine
Both chondroitin and glucosamine are used to help your body to restore ligament and cartilage tissue that arthritis has damaged. Many people talk about how effective these are in treating osteoarthritis. There are people with rheumatoid arthritis that say they have experienced pain relief using chondroitin and glucosamine as well. You can find them at any grocery store, they are typically found in the section dedicated to vitamins.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and veggies are also beneficial for the treatment of your arthritis, because many of them help you reduce inflammation and help you to get essential vitamins into your diet daily. A great way to ensure you’re getting lots of fruits and vegetables is to juice or make smoothies. Also, always look for ways to incorporate leafy greens into your diet (spinach, kale, collard greens, chard, mustard greens, romaine, etc) typically salads are a simple way to do this or try them in your smoothie’s or when you’re juicing.
Stay Away From Trigger Food
Trigger foods are said to bring about increased pain and inflammation, stay away from them as much as you can. Nightshade fruits and vegetables including tomatoes, potatoes (not sweet potatoes), peppers, eggplants, tomatillos and goji berries can be problematic for many rheumatoid arthritis sufferers. Other trigger foods often discussed in the RA community include red meat, dairy products, alcohol, coffee, gluten and refined sugars.
If we all had the same trigger foods that would make managing this disease much easier, however, we all react differently to the foods we eat. The important take away here is that food has a big impact on how we feel and how much pain we’re in. It might be difficult to think about removing certain foods from your diet, but it’s well worth it to test. Food and diet has been a way for many people with RA to reduce the amount of medication they have to take, and that is the real goal here. No one said it would be easy, but think about the potential reward!
Interested in learning more about how diet affects rheumatoid arthritis? Gain access to your own downloadable free ebook: 6 Foods To Avoid If You Have Rheumatoid Arthritis today!