From the category archives:

arthritis

Anti-Inflammatory Diet

by Ed

Contribution from freelance writer, Jackie.

How to Go on An Anti-Inflammatory Diet: Eating the Right Foods To Prevent Diseases

Your immune system works hard to protect your body against infection and injury. This reaction called inflammation is how your body naturally reacts to fight off viruses or chemicals – basically anything that may cause potential harm to the body. But in some cases, inflammation can still occur even though there are no threats to your health, and this can lead to certain health conditions and diseases.

Reversing chronic inflammation has long been a way of life among the Chinese as they are quite adept at the use of certain herbal medicines to restore the body to its optimum condition, but Westerners have yet to catch on when it comes to correcting this health problem. Experts say that ongoing inflammation can lead to chronic diseases such as arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Moreover, chronic inflammation can become better or worse depending on the types of food that you eat. The good news is that going on an anti-inflammation diet is much more straightforward than you think it is. It’s easy enough to follow that you can eat anti-inflammatory foods no matter where you are, and in time, you begin to see what works to stop chronic inflammation from affecting your body.

Here’s how to go on an anti-inflammatory diet.

Avoid unhealthy foods

Unhealthy foods that contribute to weight gain such as processed food, fried food, and trans fat which can be found in a lot of fast food can contribute to inflammation. You should also reduce your consumption of refined flour and sugar as these foods raise insulin and blood sugar levels which can trigger inflammation.

Try incorporating some Chinese medicinal herbs into your diet

Studies have shown that Chinese herbs such as Coptis Chinensis (Huang Lian), Isatidis Folium (Da Qin Ye), and Patrinia Herba (Bai Jian Cao) have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties to keep the balance between yin and yang and maintain the body’s overall health. You can make an herbal decoction of these Chinese herbs and drink it like tea a few times a week.

Increase your intake of whole foods

Experts say that one-ingredient foods such as apples, broccoli, and chicken can keep inflammation at bay. Fish, especially cold-water varieties, are also recommended, so try eating fish at least three times a week. You should also incorporate more whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds into your diet.

Switch out your cup of coffee for a cup of green tea

If you love drinking coffee twice a day, consider switching out your afternoon cup of joe for a healthful cup of green tea. This contains catechins and polyphenols, which have anti-inflammatory properties.

Flavor your food with healthful ingredients

To add seasoning to savory food, use spices with anti-inflammatory properties such as cinnamon, rosemary, ginger, and sage. If you’re craving for a hint of sweet flavor, add berries, apples, pineapples, or other fruit to your dish. Pineapple, in particular, contains an anti-inflammatory called bromelain, which improves protein digestion, so combining pineapple with chicken makes for a satisfying and anti-inflammation meal.

Indulge in dark chocolate

An anti-inflammatory diet doesn’t have to be boring – in fact, dark chocolate has anti-inflammation properties, and you can indulge in a few pieces every now and then. Consider eating dark chocolate with pieces of apple or berries to further reduce inflammation.

Consume less dairy

Dairy contains saturated fat which you need for a healthy body, but too much of it can cause inflammation. Try cutting back on dairy or consuming dairy alternatives such as soy milk or almond milk.

It has been said that chronic inflammation is the root of most diseases, so choosing the right food can go a long way to keep you healthy. Choose to go on an anti-inflammatory diet and enjoy the full health benefits for years to come.

Acupuncture better than surgery?

by Ed

Drug companies and other companies that have something to gain, are good at twisting research to make you believe what they want you to believe. If they can do it, so can I!

First a study on acupuncture from 2004. It was a very large and rigorous study that showed acupuncture is effective in treating osteoarthritis of the knee. The acupuncture group had 40% less pain and nearly 40% better function than either the sham acupuncture (placebo) group or the control group.

“For the first time, a clinical trial with sufficient rigor, size, and duration has shown that acupuncture reduces the pain and functional impairment of osteoarthritis of the knee,” said Stephen E. Straus, M.D., NCCAM Director. “These results also indicate that acupuncture can serve as an effective addition to a standard regimen of care and improve quality of life for knee osteoarthritis sufferers. NCCAM has been building a portfolio of basic and clinical research that is now revealing the power and promise of applying stringent research methods to ancient practices like acupuncture.”

Next a study shows that orthoscopic surgery is no better than placebo in treating osteoarthritis of the knee. So, you see acupuncture is better than surgery for pain.

Disclaimer: In the interests of honesty and integrity, my last statement was obviously a huge leap. And orthopedic experts find fault with the study on knee surgery. They say most of the patients chosen would not have been good candidates fo the study any way.

So, assuming the “experts” are right, what do we learn here? Well obviously, acupuncture is effective in relieving osteoarthritis pain. What I find interesting though, is that the placebo effect is so powerful. Why aren’t they studying that? Everyone in healing professions, including surgeons, should be learning how to enhance the placebo effect. Mostly, science is trying to discount it. Apparently it is the most potent healer.

A quick note on Tai Chi

by Ed

I found this in Andrew Weil’s Self Healing Newsletter, from February, 2001:

A recent study looked at 33 arthritic adults aged 49 to 81, who either did or did not take a three month tai chi program. Participants in the hour long, twice weekly class said they were better able to manage disease symptoms and enjoyed better health. By doing these slow, flowing motions, arthritic patients reported significant improvements in their flexibility, mobility, and ability to bend and do household tasks. (Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, December, 2000)

Arthritis and Rheumatism

by Ed

Back to talking about the cold damp weather, many people find their aches and pains are worse in the Winter. One of the statements of fact in Chinese Medicine is, “When qi (energy) is flowing, there is no pain. Where there is pain, qi is not flowing.” Cold damp weather tends to make the qi sluggish. It also makes us sluggish, which makes the qi more sluggish. So one of the first steps when you have pain is to keep moving. It may be a good idea to consult with a qualified health professional, if you do not have an exercise program, before you start. Tai chi is one of the best forms of exercise, particularly for older people. It is gentle, yet powerful in its effects. Research has proven it to be an excellent way to prevent osteoporosis, and to slow its progress. From the Chinese point of view, not only does it relax the body and move all the joints, but the particular movements encourage the free flow of qi throughout the body.

Diet can also be helpful for arthritis and rheumatism. It’s best to eat warming foods rather than cooling foods. Ice cream should definitely be avoided. Dairy products aggravate damp conditions and ice cream is obviously cold. Other foods to be avoided include the nightshade family: tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes, and peppers. For many people they are not a big problem, so the best thing to do is to go off them entirely for about a month, then add them back in, one at a time, and notice if they aggravate your symptoms. Many people also find that sugar aggravates painful conditions. Lastly oily, fatty foods can aggravate damp related conditions. One exception being the omega 3 oils found in fish and flax seeds. Omega 3 oils actually have anti-inflammatory action. Taken in large quantities, ginger also can relieve pain. It can also thin the blood, though so consult your doctor if you are on blood thinners or have a blood disorder.

Have an active pain free Winter.