Rheumatism: What to Know, What to Eat, What to Do


Sign and Symptoms of Rheumatic Diseases

Rheumatic diseases, like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, are extremely painful conditions that are caused by inflammation and swelling in the joints and muscles. Unfortunately, there are more than 100 rheumatic diseases, and almost any joint can be affected. With millions of people affected by these diseases, the goal is to minimize the uncomfortable, painful symptoms including: joint stiffness, joint damage, rheumatoid nodules, and fatigue. Luckily, we can say by visiting your doctor, there are treatments and medications that can help you manage rheumatism.

Foods to Eat and Foods to Avoid

We believe in a holistic approach to health and well being. While changing your diet may not cure your symptoms, it can certainly help you live an improved life. So what are foods to consume and foods to avoid? Whole foods, such as fish, olive oil, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are on the top of the list. Good fats, like omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and help protect against muscle loss. So eat multiple servings of salmon, tuna, herring, mackerel, flax seeds, or walnuts multiple times per week. Add a surge of vitamin C packed fruits and greens to your diet as it helps eliminate damaging free radicals. Get your doses of calcium and vitamin D with mustard greens, collard greens, spinach, or shrimp to help prevent or even reverse bone loss. Contrary to what you may think, milk is not the only way to get vitamin D or calcium in your diet. Many foods these days are fortified for these reasons. Dairy products, especially made of cow’s milk, can actually be a trigger for inflammation. You would also be surprised how dairy products, in a range of forms, show up in processed foods– that is why we suggest sticking to whole foods. A few other foods to avoid includes a high intake of meat as it is difficult to digest meat and it disrupts healthy digestive functions as well as wheat. Instead, lean toward whole grains such as millet, quinoa, and buckwheat.

Exercises to Add to Your Healthy Lifestyle

When suffering from joint and muscle pain, you want to maintain a healthy weight in order to keep joints flexible and muscles stronger. Having a regular exercise regimen in your life is another proactive way to manage the disease as well as reduce stress. Always consult your doctor or a physical therapist before adding a new routine to your physical activity program and really form it to your preferences as well as lifestyle. Some of our favorite exercises that help reduce pain and disability include walking, biking, tai chi, yoga, pilates, and swimming. Living an active life will keep you looking healthy and feeling healthy from the inside out. Remember to listen to your body and avoid exercises that will leave your joints tender or inflamed.