Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis
According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control, two thirds of people who have arthritis are under 65 years of age. If you have stiffness and pain in your joints and ligaments, you may have it, too. But there are some things you can do to make arthritis more manageable and less painful.
What To Eat When You Have Arthritis
First off, avoid the following food items as these may cause unnecessary inflammation:
- Saturated fats and trans fats, omega 6 fatty acids
- Refined carbohydrates (white bread, white potatoes, white rice)
- Gluten (wheat, barley, rye or foods made with these if you have celiac disease)
- Casein (in products made from whey protein, if you are lactose intolerant)
When you have arthritis, the body is already in an inflammatory state. These foods can increase that inflammation, making your arthritis worse. Start to read labels at the grocery store. There are arthritis-friendly recipes available from the Arthritis Foundation. The site also offers an arthritis diet to help manage this condition.
Just as some foods increase inflammation, some foods lower it. Eat lots of these:
- Fish rich in omega 3 fatty acids (salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring)
- Soy beans (edamame or tofu)
- Olive oil, safflower oil, avocado oil, and walnut oil
- Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and cherries
- Leafy green vegetables like broccoli and lowfat dairy products
- Green tea
- Citrus fruits: oranges, mandarins, grapefruit, lemons and limes
- Whole grains like oatmeal, brown rice, whole grain cereals (if you are not celiac)
- Beans: red, kidney, and pinto
- Garlic, onions, leeks
How To Exercise When You Have Arthritis
Exercise helps, even though it may be the last thing on your mind when your joints ache. Just walking for thirty minutes a day can make you feel a lot better. If you have been a couch potato, you can build up to this gradually, starting with ten minutes a day for a week, and adding ten minutes for another week. The third week you will be ready for the whole thirty minutes. You don’t have to do the walking all at once. You can take a fifteen minute walk before lunch and another after dinner. Or walk to the mailbox, newsstand, or convenience store. Pretty soon you will miss it if you don’t get to walk. You will sleep better, too.
The Arthritis Foundation also has recommendations for starting an exercise routine and working out with arthritis. A good stretch can make you feel good, something as simple as stretching your arms over your head and then slowly bringing your arms down while bending forward and reaching as low as you can. Now doesn’t that feel good? Stretching before exercising will reduce the chances of straining a muscle.
Swimming with easy kicks, riding a bike or stationary bike and walking on a level surface or treadmill are also recommended.
There really are a lot of things you can do for yourself to help your arthritis. It may not go away entirely, but these tips will enable you to keep your arthritis at bay and make you healthier in the long run.