Arthritis: How can we help ourselves?
October 12th-18th is National Arthritis Week. The two main types of Arthritis are Inflammatory (Rheumatoid RA) & Degenerative/Mechanical (Osteo OA).
My interest is always “why” does the body manifest “dis-ease” and what can bring it back to balance and prevent it happening?
The why is often the challenge but good evidence shows those old chestnuts of Diet and Lifestyle do have an influence. If our diet is over acidic (too much red meat, dairy, processed foods) we create inflammation in the body which leads to many types of diseases. An Alkaline diet composes a higher proportion of fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, fish etc
Top food tips as recommended by www.arthritis.org
Fish – high in Omega 3 salmon, mackerel, tuna
Extra Virgin Olive oil – Oleocanthal - properties similar to NSAID’s without the horrific stomach side effects (walnut oil even better!)
Red fruits - Anthocyanins - anti inflammatory properties – cherries, strawbs, raspberries, blueberries and completely free Blackberries and Elderberries (get out now to pick and make into a syrup!)
Broccoli – contains Sulforaphane which slows down OA
Green Tea – polyphenols reduce inflammation/cartilage destruction
Garlic, Onions & Leeks - contain a compound which limits cartilage damage
Fruits high in Vit C – oranges, limes, grapefruit, kiwi -essential for immune system
Nuts – calcium, magnesium, zinc, vitamin E (almonds) Selenium (brazil) all these minerals are essential.
Supplements: Glucosamine and Chondroitin may help improve damaged cartilage (Caution: Diabetes, Warfarin, Shellfish allergies) and Magnesium – either Supplement with Calcium or traditional Epsom Salt Baths or Magnesium spray directly onto the skin – we are all very deficient in this essential mineral and it strengthens bones; maintains nerve and muscle function; regulates heart rhythm and blood sugar levels; and helps maintain joint cartilage so its pretty vital!
As we get older we move less freely/frequently and this affects our joint flexibility and strength. The old adage of “Move it or lose it” really does work and I see many fab results in those with chronic pain and stiffness who actually start to move using the gentle restorative powers of yoga (but I would say that!) A recent study from the University of Baltimore found “Yoga may be especially well suited to people with arthritis because it combines physical activity with potent stress management and relaxation techniques, and focuses on respecting limitations that can change from day to day.” And the UK’s biggest ever study, led by the University of York and funded by Arthritis Research UK, found that “people offered a specially-designed 12-week yoga programme experienced greater improvements in back function and more confidence in performing everyday tasks than those offered conventional forms of GP care.”
There are many yoga poses that will improve joint range of motion and strength –my recommendations are Warrior 1 and 2, Cobra, Standing Forward Bend, Squat, Downward Facing Dog, Pigeon and finally the Awkward Pose! All of these are FREE videos on my website for you to play with! www.carolebaker.co.uk and click videos/articles.