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Moving the Body Painlessly

By Greg Samples


Originally published in Everything Knoxville in May, 2014

The lyrics from Camelot speak of the "lusty month of May", the time when we are eager to romp outside with the warmth and beauty of the season and play, run, jump, swim, dance, love, twist, and turn. Even so, aches, pains, stiffness, and fatigue can temper that eagerness. For those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, pain and stiffness can be an overwhelming obstacle.

Conventional wisdom says that there’s not much you can do other than using pain and anti-inflammatory medication, and sometimes physical therapy. But actually, thousands of people world wide have relieved their pain permanently by changing their diet and lifestyle.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that creates inflammation in the joints initially and, over time, can cause problems in the major organs and glands as well. It has been theorized that the cause of arthritis is of genetic or hormonal origin, but environmental and lifestyle factors cannot be discounted. In fact, various foods and drinks have been identified as either causing or relieving the inflammation, and thus the pain, of arthritis.

Simple sugar is perhaps the most inflammatory food we consume. It can effect all systems of the body in a negative way, and the joints and ligaments of the body are no exception. Baked white flour products and sugary sodas, especially those with carbonation, facilitate inflammation. High heat such as frying and pasteurizing can produce toxins that lead to inflammation. Preservatives and additives can enhance inflammation so choosing organic, whole unprocessed foods are important. It has also been observed that certain proteins in dairy food may irritate the joints. In fact, all animal food is acid forming in the body and possibly leads to inflammation.

Among fruits, citrus has been regarded as a detriment to joint health as well as tomatoes and vegetables in the nightshade family. A comprehensive plan to avoid all of the foods listed above could go a long way toward eliminating the pain of arthritis.

Foods that can help reduce inflammation and enhance the immune system include all types of leafy greens and root vegetables. Sea vegetables are an immune system building food that is unsurpassed in nutrient density. Miso soup made with the sea vegetable wakame, onions, and leafy greens can go a long way toward building the immune system and reducing inflammation. However, by far the most important undertaking is to avoid the foods that enhance inflammation.

It’s May, it’s lusty, it’s time to move about and enjoy life to the fullest. Don’t resign yourself to a lifetime of pain. There is a way to end it, if you’ll only take back your health and seek out the changes that will reduce or eliminate the pain.

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