2. Regular Exercise
While it might be the last thing you want to do when your
joints ache, keeping things moving with a regular exercise program will help
ease pain and stiffness. Physical activity provides a multi-faceted range of
benefits for arthritis sufferers, including strengthening the muscles around
the joints, improved bone strength, maintaining a healthy body weight, more
restful sleep, more energy throughout the day, and better balance. Exercise won’t worsen your joint health
– in fact, lack of movement is what may be making your joints stiffer. Just a
few minutes of physical activity each day – such as walking, swimming, or using
a stationary bicycle – can have a huge impact on quality of life. It doesn’t
need to be rigorous – go slow, move gently, and if it’s too painful, take a
break. Here are a few low-impact
workouts that are arthritis-friendly.
3. Manage Your Stress
– Those living with chronic pain struggle with depression and anxiety at a
rate of two to ten times greater than the general population.
all types of arthritis can have a negative impact on your mental health, people
with rheumatoid arthritis are at a heightened risk of major depressive
disorder. It appears that these two conditions co-occur and feed off of each
other – feelings of depression and anxiety can lower your pain threshold, while
constant pain can worsen your anxiety and depression. The prevalence of depression
in arthritis patients may be related to elevated inflammation levels in the
body, since pro-inflammatory enzymes are implicated in both rheumatoid
arthritis and depressive symptoms.
you’re struggling with low mood, there are things you can do to help manage anxiety
and depression. Tending a garden or taking a walk are powerful ways to boost
mood that will keep you active. Supplementing with St. John’s Wort or herbal
tinctures may offer some relief, and aromatherapy with essential oils for
4. Avoid These
Limit or avoid these foods that are known to trigger inflammation
in the body:
– Consuming processed sugar releases inflammatory cytokines that can make pain worse. Here are tips on how to
quit sugar and natural sweetener alternatives.
Carbohydrates – White bread, white rice, and other kinds of refined grains
are high glycemic index foods that can fuel inflammation. Paleo and Keto diets have
healthy meal plan ideas that help limit carbohydrate intake.
Foods – Reducing the amount of fried foods can lower inflammation levels
and help restore the body’s natural defenses.
- Red Meat and Processed Meat – Eating a high
protein diet of steaks and hot dogs can induce inflammation and accelerate the
process behind inflammatory diseases.
Fats – An unsaturated fat widely used in the food industry, trans fats can
cause systemic inflammation. Avoid margarine, shortening, lard, and processed
5. Eat More Foods
that Fight Inflammation – Including anti-inflammatory foods is a natural
way to combat arthritic pain. According to Harvard Health:
The Top Foods That Fight inflammation:
such as tomatoes, strawberries, blueberries, apples, cherries, oranges, and
pineapples are rich in antioxidants that help ward off inflammation.
Greens like spinach, kale, and collards.
like almonds and walnuts.
Fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines.
- Olive Oil
is a healthy substitute for trans fats.
To fight inflammation with food, try the Mediterranean diet,
shown to reduce inflammatory markers throughout the body.
6. Fermented Cod
Liver Oil is an excellent source of vitamin A and D, and omega-3 fatty
acids. Fermented cod liver oil offers a natural way to fight pain and
inflammation. If arthritis is complicated by depression, the omega-3s in cod
liver oil have been shown to lessen anxiety and boost mood.
7. Ginger is
aromatic and spicy, and contains compounds that combat both pain and
inflammation.Ginger possesses broad
anti-inflammatory action that shares many of the properties of NSAIDs, but with
better results and fewer side effects. Ginger interacts with genes responsible for encoding enzymes
involved in inflammatory responses, beneficial for those suffering from chronic
8. Turmeric root
has wonderful applications for the skin and overall physical health. For
arthritis, turmeric can provide relief from swelling and pain of inflamed
joints.Studies involving curcumin and
inflammation have found it is capable of inhibiting several pro-inflammatory
enzymes, including the “holy grail” of inflammation. Researchers found that turmeric improved pain levels when walking,
and had less morning stiffness, and better range of movement.
Mix fresh rhizomes or dried spices into a tasty beverage or make
turmeric paste and apply directly to achy joints for quick pain relief.
9. Collagen is
the most abundant protein in our bodies. Collagen is found in our skin, bones,
tendons, organs, and cartilage. With degenerative diseases like arthritis,
collagen supplements may help rebuild joint cartilage, strengthen bones, and
relieve pain.Oral collagen
supplements can significantly reduced pain and the stiffness of osteoarthritis and
improved the ability to carry out physical activities. Collagen has a similar
impact on swelling and joint tenderness in rheumatoid arthritis, without any
can only be sourced from the skins, tendons, marrow, and ligaments of animals.
Replenish collagen by making bone broth or using powdered collagen you can add
10. Eggshell Membrane
– the egg membrane is the thin, transparent layer that clings to the inside of
an eggshell after you’ve broken an egg. It is composed off all sorts of good
stuff for joint and tissue support: collagen, glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate,
and hyaluronic acids.
membrane was effective for people with joint and connective tissue disorders,
according to a study published in Clinical Interventions in Aging. Taking 500
mg of eggshell membrane daily resulting in a 28% increase in flexibility after
just 7 days, and a 72% reduction in general pain, 44% increase in flexibility,
and 76% decrease in pain associated with range of movement after 30 days of
treatment. You can harvest eggshell membranes yourself or by taking eggshell
11. CBD Oil is a
rather new entrant to modern medicine and has shown promising results in
treating a range of ailments. CBD possesses antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and
interacts with brain receptors in the endocannabinoid system involved in
regulating pain sensation, the immune system, and mood. Preliminary findings suggest
it may be of therapeutic value for arthritic conditions.
– patients used an oral spray composed of CBD and THC in equal parts – daily
for five weeks and compared with a placebo group, and there were significant
improvements in pain on movement, pain at rest, and sleep quality.
Pure CBD helps protect the joints against damage and decreased
pro-inflammatory enzymes such as tumor necrosis factor. The researchers
concluded that CBD oil has a potent anti-arthritic effect due to its
immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory action.
CBD applied to inflamed joints reduces swelling and pain and the effects
were long lasting and without any adverse side effects.
12. Capsaicin gives
chili peppers their fiery heat. As food or used topically, capsaicin
selectively interacts with nociceptive neurons in the brain which are
responsible for how we perceive pain.
Capsaicin is sourced from chili peppers like jalapeno, cayenne, and
habanero or purchase a topical cream with capsaicin standardized at 0.1%.
13. Gamma-Linolenic Acid(GLA)
is an omega-6 fatty acid found in botanical oils like evening primrose, black
currant, and borage. Taken as a dietary supplement, GLA appears to be an
effective treatment for joint pain, stiffness, and swelling associated with
rheumatoid arthritis.It is capable
of suppressing inflammation at a daily dose of 2.8 grams. After one year of GLA treatment, researchers
found that 76% of participants experienced a meaningful reduction in overall
14. Healing Herbs – The
earth is abundant in plants that soothe and heal.
that hold great promise as treatments for rheumatic conditions:
Claw – The bark and roots of this woody vine have powerful
anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that reduced pain and swelling in
both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Cat’s claw can be taken as a
– Native to India, frankincense has been shown to help curtail pro-inflammatory
enzymes, improve joint health, and reduce the deterioration of cartilage.
Frankincense is available as an essential oil and daily supplement.
Nettle is a weed that grows in the wilds throughout North America that may help improve inflammation and pain.
are one of the richest sources of vitamin C, rosehips have natural pain-relieving
properties that benefit people with osteoarthritis.
stems and juice contain bromelain, an enzyme that exhibits potent pain and
swelling relief in knee osteoarthritis.
Our government won’t protect us from these
harmful chemicals, so we have to protect ourselves.
The endocrine system is the system of glands,
hormones and hormone targets that is responsible for almost everything our
bodies do. Hormones are chemical messengers that control blood sugar, infant
and child development, sexual function, growth, energy production and much
more. Tiny amounts of them have profound effects on our health and wellbeing.
Synthetic chemicals, used in industry and agriculture,
can disrupt the way this finely tuned system works. We call these
chemicals—including compounds made from lead, mercury and arsenic, DDT, BPA and
phthalates are endocrine disrupting chemicals.
These chemicals are known to cause obesity,
diabetes, heart disease, reduced fertility, premature birth, reduced sperm
quality and cancer. Exposures before birth, during childhood and the teenage
years are important because of the rapid growth and development during those
periods. New research indicates that some EDCs cause problems that are passed
along for generations.
A study released by Healthy Babies Bright
Futures highlights the pervasiveness of the endocrine-disrupting chemical,
arsenic. The study found that levels of arsenic in infant rice cereal are six
times higher than in infant cereals made from other ingredients.
Arsenic can kill and it also causes cancer,
damages developing brains in babies and children, reducing IQ test scores, and
disrupts important hormones in our bodies, and increases the risk of diabetes.
Children’s exposures to arsenic in infant rice
cereal and other rice-based foods accounts for an estimated loss of up to 9.2
million IQ points among U.S. children ages 0-6. The FDA has not taken action, and this administration will
let this travesty continue.
none of us escape exposure to EDCs. BPA is so ubiquitous that government
studies found it in over 90 percent of the people studied, representing a
potentially huge liability for the companies that make BPA.
For the last century, the foundation of chemical
regulation has been that small exposures are not a problem— a little won’t hurt
you. Endocrine disruption turns that concept on its head, because hormones are
active in such small amounts. Some
endocrine disruptors are more potent in tiny amounts than in larger amounts. Fundamental
changes in chemical testing and safety determination are needed to protect
Weak regulations mean we really have no idea how
many chemicals are endocrine disruptors. The EPA says there are about 85,000
chemicals used by industry, and most of them have never been tested to find out
if they can disrupt our hormones. There is evidence that over 1,400
hormone-disrupting chemicals are endocrine disruptors.
About 25 years ago, Congress passed a law
stating that the EPA should begin testing for endocrine disruption in a subset
of those 85,000 chemicals. It hasn’t happened, and in today’s political climate
it’s not likely to happen. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to reduce your
exposure to EDCs:
- Eat organic food when it’s available and affordable.
- If you’re feeding a baby cereal, stay away from rice. Buy oat, wheat or multigrain cereal instead.
- Avoid household bug sprays.
- Use cosmetics, shampoos and soaps with simple, pronounceable ingredients.
- Use cleaners like vinegar and baking soda, or products with the Safer Choice logo.
- Keep rooms well aired and vacuum, clean and dust regularly to remove chemicals that can be found indoors.
- Minimize unnecessary use of plastics.
Add your name to the growing movement to stop
EDCs.It’s time companies like Monsanto, Dow-DuPont
and ExxonMobil take responsibility for gambling with your family’s health and
the health of future generations and stop making these silent killer chemicals.
We deserve nothing less.
Caroline Cox is the Senior Scientist at the
Center for Environmental Health.