There are almost 100 types of arthritis, the two most common being osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. While osteoarthritis affects the weight-bearing joints like the spine, hip, and knee, rheumatoid arthritis strikes at the hands, wrists and feet, and affects women at a much younger age than men. This is owing to hormonal changes especially after pregnancy or around menopause. It’s interesting to note that osteoarthritis strikes women after 55 but men before that; however, the percentage of women affected is higher than men. This is because of women’s body shape—their hips are wider than the knees, thus not aligned as straight as men’s.
With age, wear and tear of the cartilage takes place that triggers pain in the elbows, knees, hips and shoulders. Morning stiffness, swelling and tenderness of joints and redness around them, and difficulty in movement are some general symptoms of this autoimmune disease, especially for the elderly.
Genetics play a vital role for women and so do hormones, especially after menopause when the oestrogen level falls. A sedentary lifestyle, long hours of sitting, lack of sunlight, environmental pollution, obesity, chemicals in food, processed foods, white flour, sugar, aerated drinks, steroids and overall diet contribute to arthritis.
Indeed, diet plays a major role. Some foods are safe to have. Better still, there are foods that can actually ease your symptoms and improve quality of life. Luckily, such foods are part of the Indian diet. Conversely, there are foods that trigger arthritis and should be avoided. You can experiment for three months by slowly adding foods that relieve pain and eliminating the ones that cause it.
Foods that alleviate symptoms
The no-no foods
Certain foods called nightshade foods, like eggplant (with a lot of seeds), peppers, paprika, potatoes with green spots, tobacco and tomatoes have a high amount of alkaloids, which affect joint health and muscle movement. Avoid them completely if you have arthritic pain. Here are some more foods on the no-no list:
In a nutshell
Do not let your body become equivalent to a rundown house with creaking door joints and rickety stairs, making life painful with every step you take. Make the following simple changes in your lifestyle and lead a pain-free life.
Keep yourself warm and recharged throughout the day by sipping on this piping hot drink
Boil all ingredients, except almonds, together in water till it reduces to half. Strain and garnish with almonds. Serve.
A spoonful of this mixture generates warmth in the body, strengthens the back and prevents stiff joints
Coarsely grind the gondh in a grinder. Mix it with peepramul. Pour hot ghee over it and mix well. Store in an airtight container and eat 1 tbsp daily with breakfast.
Get rid of your joint pains and tingle your taste buds with this pickle
Julienne the ginger and marinate in a mixture of rock salt and lemon juice and keep aside. Enjoy this ready-to-eat pickle with lunch and dinner.
Setalvad is an obesity and lifestyle disease consultant who offers diet counselling at Health for You, a wellness clinic in Mumbai, as well as online. Visit www.nainisetalvad.com for more details or write to email@example.com if you have any queries for her
Photo: iStock Featured in Harmony — Celebrate Age Magazine March 2017
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