Arthritis: Managing it Through Lifestyle and Diet

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Arthritis: Managing it Through Lifestyle and Diet

What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is joint inflammation. There are many types of arthritis some come due to natural wear of joints, some suddenly appear and disappear and others are chronic.

Causes of Arthritis

Underlying causes are not fully known what physicians know is that an ankle or a knee injury can set a stage for arthritis. Other causes may include;

  • Lack of physical activity
  • Excessive weight
  • Ageing
  • Genetic disease causing weak cartilage
  • Immune associated arthritis- rheumatoid arthritis
  • Environmental factors – water, food, air
  • Infection- bacteria, fungi and viruses

Stress and other forms of emotional trauma can worsen the symptoms.

Effects of Arthritis

  • Breakdown of the cartilage
  • Inflammation of the lining of the joint
  • Development of crystals in the fluid of the joint
  • Shortening or shrinkage of muscle or tendons leading to joint deformities
  • Tightening of the skin
  • Loss of joint movement due to damage to a joint or weakened muscles
  • Decreased muscle strength if a joint is not moved for an extended period of time

Protecting your joints

1. Exercise

  • Strengthens muscles surrounding arthritic points
  • Increase joint flexibility
  • Reduce fatigue
  • Boost energy levels
  • Helps you lose weight
  • Improves quality of sleep

2. Seek medical advice
Seek advice from your doctor on what you can do and what you cannot, to ease the pain.

3. Start slowly – to maintain motion without damage, gently stretch muscles of affected areas, at least once every day.

4. Warm and cool down.

  • Warm-up joints and muscles using a heating pad
  • Take a warm bath, shower before exercising

5. Walk, set up the pace gradually by starting with very short distances and gradually increase

6. Learn to understand and respect your pain- understand the general discomfort of arthritis and pain from overuse of the joint. Do not over-exercise tender, injured or badly inflamed joints. If pain lasts more than 1 to 2 hours after exercise or pain comes on more quickly, day after day, chances are you are doing too much.

7. Know your limits. If the bones and the cartilage of the affected area are worn down, high impact exercise may not be the right choice for you. Swimming and/or walking may be a better choice.

Healing power of foods

1. Eat food in a form as close to its natural form as possible especially vegetables and fruits.

  • Fresh
  • Raw
  • Lightly cooked
  • Unsalted
  • No artificial flavours
  • No artificial colours
  • No preservatives

2. Foods to avoid

  • Foods containing gluten, Rye, Wheat and non-organic oats
  • All drinks containing caffeine
  • All processed foods

There is a constant change happening in your body every day. Cells die and new ones are formed so eating nutritious natural food help to form healthy cells. Taking a step today to start living a healthy lifestyle will eventually pay off. Remember, it does not happen suddenly but it takes time to replace unhealthy cells with healthy ones.

Nutrients that help to manage arthritis include

  • Protein
  • B vitamins
  • Folic acid
  • Biotin
  • Vitamin C, E, B12, and D
  • Selenium
  • Manganese
  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Zinc

Foods rich in the above nutrients include

  • Liver
  • Kidney
  • Yoghurt
  • Oily fish nuts and seeds
  • Fresh vegetables and fruits

Plants with healing potential for arthritis

1. All fruits except citrus, cranberry, plums
2. All greens vegetables except spinach, rhubarb
3. Broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage
4. All root vegetables
5. Onions, garlic, leeks and spring onions
6. Sprouted grains and legumes
7. Spices like chillies, cinnamon, and turmeric

Foods to avoid

1. Alcohol
2. Beverages containing caffeine
3. All foods made from grains with gluten
4. Sugar
5. Canned and processed foods


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