Five lifestyle changes you can make to relieve your arthritis symptoms 13



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Arthritis is a disease that affects millions in Australia, but receives little love. Funding is poor, treatment options are limited, media coverage is negligible and research lags behind conditions with far fewer sufferers.

It’s hard to know what to do about this situation. But as an arthritis sufferer myself, I believe the best approach is to focus on YOU. There are a number of lifestyle changes you can make that, collectively, make a big difference.

The tricky thing is knowing where to start. A recent national survey conducted by the Wellvess Arthritis Vitality Program showed people are desperate for help. Over 80% ‘strongly agreed’ that treatments beyond surgery and hard drugs are required. Yet almost one-half did not know where to turn or felt they lacked support and advice. Part of the problem is there are so many health ‘fads & fashions’ which cloud the issue and make finding the proven changes difficult. 

For anyone with arthritis, I’d like to suggest five lifestyle changes you can make that are likely to make a difference. All are evidence-based and proven to play a role in reducing the symptoms of arthritis over time.

  1. Ditch sugary and oily nasties

Certain foods actually exacerbate inflammatory diseases like arthritis and should be avoided. It’s madness to put something into your body that fuels your worst enemy. Top of the list of bad guys are processed sugars and trans fats. They are common in processed foods, so cooking yourself more often is a great move. Try to use healthier alternatives for a sweet hit, such as honey or dates. Use olive and coconut oil for cooking, dressings and baking.

  1. Embrace anti-inflammatory friends

Once you’ve broken-up with the baddies, it’s time to make new friends! And the good guys are the anti-inflammatory foods that actually help relieve arthritic inflammation. Why wouldn’t you eat them? In bucket loads! Many foods fit within this category, including most fruits, vegetables and nuts. Berries, apples, apricots and cherries are particularly potent fruits. Veggies to load-up on are sweet potatoes, broccoli, mushrooms, and red onion. Oily fish (think salmon, tuna and mackerel) provides much needed anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acid. You can mix them all in a delicious omelette!

  1. Move from coffee bean to tea leaf

Fully caffeinated coffee with milk is not a great choice for people with arthritis. Consider switching to green or white tea, which is actually anti-inflammatory, full of anti-oxidants and still picks you up.

  1. Spice it up

Herbs and spices are powerful anti-inflammatory foods and you can sneak them into all sorts of dishes and drinks. Turmeric, chilli and oregano are great flavour additions to recipes such as soups, roasts, pasta dishes and stir fries. Cinnamon can work in both savoury and sweet dishes, where it works as a great substitute for sugar.

  1. Make smarter alcohol choices

Alcohol is pretty harmful for everyone; for people with inflammatory diseases, it’s a nightmare. It’s not just the alcohol itself, think of all the added, processed sugar. Across the population, alcohol consumption is falling. So it’s easier and more socially acceptable to drop the booze now than in the past. If you must have a drink – and believe me there are times – then choose lower alcohol options or just have one glass every now and then

Sandra Witzel

Sandra Witzel is a certified Health Coach who has lived with arthritis for over a decade. She is a member of the International Association of Health Coaches and works to help people with arthritis through, an 8-week online program packed with meal plans, recipes, latest research on supplements, exercise tips and a forum to connect with others.

  1. Some other good remedies: keep weight down, ginger tea, epsom salts soaks, magnesium supplements, magnesium oil rubbed onto skin.

  2. Yes, I have been symptom-free for years by changing my diet – no sugar, no citrus or acidic fruits, cut down on tomatoes, potatoes, now no grains and little dairy – essentially a Paleo, but not strict. Basically the food the planet grows for me. No packaged foods with all the additives. Restrictive? Not when you compare the freedom of being able to move again and play with the grandchildren – running and kicking a ball. I now have more energy, am pain-free, and enjoying life and my healthy food. Now 73 and changed my diet at 43 – so 30 years of joyous living all by changing my diet. I recommend it!

    1 REPLY
    • Thank you for writing those comments Beverley as they are so true. Change your lifestyle and you change how you feel forever. Throw in some regular exercise (a mix of cardio and resistance) and you won’t know yourself. I have taken a twice operated on knee from 50% flexion to 90% just with exercise and diet (and they wanted to give me a full knee replacement). If you are serious about wanting to have a better lifestyle as you age then click on my name above and have a look at my fitness blog where you will find lots of help with “active ageing”.

  3. I am amazed people don’t know how to get relief or manage symptoms these days!
    There are a multitude of natural things like gentle massage, gentle stretches, heaps of antiinflam creams , ice, hot water bottle or wet hand towel in microwave for 10 seconds..but check temp!!
    Then there’s osteo panadol, ibobrufen or voltaren if allowed.

  4. the benefits of the health benefits of organic coconut oil include hair care , skin care , weight loss and many more benefits of coconut oil . If you want to enjoy the great health benefits of coconut oil .

  5. Go and see a doctor and get a refral to a rheumatologist. There are lots a help out to help you Leed a happy less painful life

  6. I was told more than 15 years ago that I needed a knee replacement. Now I don’t think I ever will. Supplementing with boron works for me (do some research). The countries with boron deficient soils have the highest rates of arthritis.

    Regular fasting has also done wonders for my inflammation and joint movement. That has also been researched (eg during Ramadan). Other longevity benefits have also flowed as a natural outcome.

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