According to the results from the JointHealth™ Program Satisfaction and Interest survey, people living with arthritis want to learn about natural ways to help treat or ease the pain from arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Below are some life hacks for rheumatoid arthritis that you can consider. Please note that this article is for information purposes only and not intended to be medical advice. Talk to your healthcare provider before changing or starting a new treatment plan.
In addition to medications, a well-rounded treatment plan for arthritis includes several important components. Taking control of our disease means making sure your body is as healthy and strong as possible. This means eating well, making sure you get enough of the right vitamins and minerals, maintaining a healthy body weight, doing the right kinds of exercise, and making your home and work environments as supportive and accessible as possible.
Vitamins and Minerals
Calcium and Vitamin D are critically important nutrients for people with arthritis. The average adult should consume 1000 – 1500 mg of calcium, and 400 – 800 IU of Vitamin D, each day. For people who are not able to get enough of these nutrients from food alone, supplements may be a good option.
Vitamin D can help relieve chronic muscular-skeletal pain associated with RA. Some arthritis medications can deplete your levels of Vitamin D, while others, like prednisone, is known to impede calcium absorption. To get more vitamin D, get some sunshine, add Vitamin D fortified foods to your diet or eat fatty fish like salmon. The table below shows some food with calcium and Vitamin D.
Before starting on any vitamin plan, speak with your doctor or with a registered dietician. He or she will be able to tell you, based on your own unique health situation, whether further supplementation may be required.
Studies show that having a regular weekly serving of fatty fish like salmon or four weekly servings of lean fish like cod could reduce the risk of developing RA. Fish oil can help to reduce RA pain and stiffness. A fishy diet is beneficial because fish contains long chain omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), which can help regulate the body’s immune system and fight joint inflammation.
Peppermint oil may be used in a mixture with oils like olive oil or jojoba to apply to stiff and sore joints. Although there is no clear-cut scientific evidence, people have reported that it brings relief to their joints. As this is an external application, it may cause an allergic reaction in some people. Speak with your doctor or dermatologist if you are concerned about an allergic reaction.
Turmeric: Turmeric is a yellow spice commonly found in Indian dishes. According to an article in Healthline, studies have shown that curcumin, a compound in turmeric, may reduce inflammation in the body.
Ginger: According to a study published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, ginger is identified as an herbal medicinal product that shares pharmacological properties with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
Cayenne: Cayenne and other hot chili peppers contain a natural compound called capsaicinoids, which gives the spicy fruits their anti-inflammatory properties.
Pepper: Among pepper’s chemical compounds is piperine, which studies have shown may be effective in treating inflammation in the early acute inflammatory process. Click here to learn more about one of the studies.
Pineapples and pineapple juice contain an enzyme known as bromelain. Bromelain can reduce swelling in the joints caused by RA. Pineapples are also rich in Vitamin C, a key for both preventing inflammatory arthritis and maintaining healthy joints with osteoarthritis.