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Arthritis Can Be Managed With Diet and Exercise

April 29, 2008
Many people with arthritis automatically reach for pain medication, but it is not always necessary to do so. There are other solutions that work just as well, or even better, for both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

For instance, a variety of supplements -- including bromelain, essential fatty acids, and glucosamine -- can be beneficial for arthritis. But the best supplement of all is proper food. Proper, nutritious food has yielded health effects that surpass any supplement.

Exercises, including activities that engage the full body, are also recommended for individuals with arthritis. This:

But perhaps most importantly, it helps people with arthritis stay independent. Osteoarthritis (a degenerative joint disease) and rheumatoid arthritis (an autoimmune disease) are two entirely different diseases, but they can be treated in much the same way. This is because certain principles will start a cascade of healing in your body, no matter what the problem is.

So even though osteoarthritis is commonly said to be caused by wear-and-tear on your joints due to lifestyle, diet and aging, and rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which your body starts destroying itself, you can gain relief in much the same way: by addressing your diet and exercise habits.

Notice the similarities in my top recommendations for both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

My Top Recommendations for Osteoarthritis:
My Top Recommendations for Rheumatoid Arthritis:
What About Supplements?

A nutritious diet will support your health in a way that no supplement ever can, so any supplements you do take should be in addition to a healthy diet.

That said, certain supplements are far safer than the painkillers that many arthritis patients take on a regular basis.

One of the best ones for pain is animal-based omega-3 fat. This is absolutely essential for any comprehensive anti-inflammatory program, and a recent study even found that it can reduce the need for painkillers in people with rheumatoid arthritis.

Omega-3 fats form the precursors to the molecules that actually produce or inhibit inflammation in your body (prostaglandins), so it is essential to make sure you are getting enough. It is also vital to understand that you need to reduce omega-6 fats from vegetable, as it is actually the ratio of omega-6:3 fats that determines how much inflammation is present. You could theoretically consume enough omega-3 fats to work but then ruin the effect by consuming too many omega-6 fats.

My most highly recommended form of omega-3 fats are from krill oil.

For six other supplements that can help you with natural pain relief, please read Seven Ways to Protect Your Heart With Anti-Inflammatory Alternatives.

How to Beat Arthritis With Exercise

Arthritis can be extremely painful, and you may think it is next to impossible to exercise when your joints are inflamed. However, if you stop moving, your joints will become more stiff and painful, and you will gradually lose your independence.

If you have arthritis, it is essential to keep your body moving, but it does take some creativity to do so in a way that minimizes stress to your joints.

Gentler exercises like Tai Chi and yoga are recommended, as are swimming, power walking, stretching and lifting weights. You should generally avoid high-impact exercises like running, as they can cause permanent joint damage due to the excessive amount of inflammation present. A simple key to follow is that if you have pain two hours after exercise that specific exercise was likely too aggressive for your joints in their current state of inflammation.

Arthritis Does Not Have to be a “Terminal Disease”

Lastly, I can’t emphasize enough how important it is for you to believe that you can overcome arthritis. By making changes to your eating and exercise habits, along with letting go of your limiting beliefs and emotional challenges using an appropriate energy psychology tool, arthritis can be healed.

As Dr. Ben Lerner once said, “Arthritis is not a terminal disease. If that's what you've been told, fire your doctor.”

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