COW’S MILK can be replaced with almond or coconut milk.
(photo credit: WIKIPEDIA)
I am 40 years old and have recently been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. I understand that diet can play a significant part in reducing or even eliminating many of the symptoms. Can you help guide me as to what foods I should be eating and those I should be avoiding?
With many thanks,
You are absolutely right that the correct nutrition (and maintaining it) makes a huge positive impact when it comes to rheumatoid arthritis. As an autoimmune inflammatory disease, eating the right foods will help keep inflammation down and therefore keep RA in check. I usually begin my clients who have inflammatory, immune-related diseases on an “eliminating white” diet. This means no white sugars, flours or rice. Instead, replace them with whole grains, fiber and naturally sweet fruits. Also, wherever possible, cut out processed foods and try to pay attention to your symptoms after eating gluten. I tend to notice a pattern among my clients that gluten is one of the proteins that trigger inflammation and therefore may cause symptoms to worsen. Substitute lentils, beans, quinoa and potatoes for gluten.
The same goes for dairy. If you consume a lot, try replacing your milk products with almond or coconut milk, which are packed with goodness and are also anti-inflammatory. There is no need to cut out dairy and gluten completely, just be mindful of how they might affect your symptoms specifically. As I mentioned, in my clinical experience there tends to be a link, however, some are less sensitive than others.
I also want to highlight the importance of fiber. The Arthritis Foundation states that high-fiber foods can reduce the level of C-reactive protein (CRP) in your blood. CRP is one of the best indicators of the level of inflammation in our bodies. The good news is that strawberries can reduce CRP levels. Other good sources of fiber include chia seeds (a big spoonful a day), oatmeal, broccoli, eggplant, almonds, split peas and lima beans. Make sure you stock up on your anti-inflammatory foods too. An absolute must is Turmeric. I recommend taking turmeric supplements on a daily basis. For anti-inflammatory impact you should take 500 to 1,000 milligrams per day.
Don’t underestimate healthy fatty acids! Omega-3 is so important in your quest to overcome the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Think of the oil as a lubricant to your joints. Enough omega-3 can really improve your joint pain and protect you from further inflammation. Fish oil is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids (including EPA and DHA). Among the long list of benefits, fish oils are able to block inflammatory cytokines and prostaglandins. The body then converts them into powerful anti-inflammatory chemicals known as resolvins. Good options for fish high in omega-3 fatty acids include trout, anchovies, herring, salmon, tuna and mackerel.
If you don’t enjoy fish, try to include more raw nuts into your diet, especially almonds and walnuts, and start using flax seed oil, as it’s wonderfully rich in omega oils. As recommended earlier, chia seeds are not only a brilliant source of fiber but also a great source of omega-3. It is usually difficult to get enough of a therapeutic dose of fish oil from eating fish alone, so I usually always recommend taking fish oil capsules daily to treat arthritis-related conditions. Make sure you look for the kind with at least 30% EPA/DHA as the active ingredients.
One of the best quality Omega 3 supplements are made by Omega3Galil. They are leading experts in improving the potency of fish oils. Find them online at omega3galil.com, or call them at 04-999-9524.
My final recommendations to add to your diet are antioxidants. Antioxidants protect our cells from the effects of free radicals and thereby can significantly reduce inflammation in the body. Foods with a rich source of antioxidants include beetroot, green tea, garlic, ginger, olive oil, seaweed, onions and spinach. Dear Natalie,
I have always suffered from mild dandruff. Over the last few months it has become worse, and I am embarrassed to leave the house because it is really noticeable on my clothes around my shoulders. I have lost count how many “anti-dandruff” shampoos I’ve tried. I find the chemicals too strong. They always leave my scalp feeling very sore and sensitive. Are there any natural oils that you recommend and how do I apply them to my scalp?
Thank you so much for your advice,
The topical use of many of the chemical based “anti-dandruff” shampoos, especially those containing sulfur solutions or salicylic acid on a dry, flaky scalp may aggravate the dandruff and make it worse. A combination of diet, stress and many of the potent hair products we use strip the essential oils from our scalp. Our aim is to replace these oils and bring back balance to the body. You can try any of these essential oils for an excellent and simple way to optimize your skins quality and enhance your own natural hair oils.
I like to make a simple combination of coconut oil mixed with tea tree essential oil. As well as their moisturizing benefits, both these oils have potent cleansing, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. If you suffer from an itchy scalp due to the dry, flaky skin, then add lavender essential oil to this mix. Lavender is also a very effective anti-fungal and antibacterial oil which will soothe any irritation. It is especially beneficial if your scalp is red and sore.
Another favorite of mine is rosemary oil, well-known for its effectiveness in treating premature graying. This is probably my most often prescribed “hair oil.” Often used to promote hair growth, this is precisely why it works so well to prevent and treat dandruff. Rosemary oil not only promotes nerve growth and improves circulation of the scalp, it also has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Use 7-8 drops of the essential oil. Add to half a cup of a carrier oil which can be massaged it into your scalp after a bath or shower. I prefer to add it to a carrier oil such as coconut oil, but if this is too greasy for you then rosemary alone is ok. (If this is the case you do not have to rinse it out).
One final oil you might like to add to your mix is cedar-wood oil. This wonderful essential oil fights bacterial and fungal areas due to its powerful antiseptic properties. It also adds shine and protects against heat. Once you have picked your preferred essential oils add approximately 8-10 drops into your chosen carrier oil. If you do not like the smell of coconut oil, try sweet almond or grape seed oil.
Begin by parting the hair then apply some of the mix by massaging into the scalp. Then part it again and repeat until the entire scalp is covered. Leave for 5-10 minutes before rinsing out. If you’re feeling lazy, you can try Dr. Bronner’s organic hair creams. They use the purest organic and fair trade ingredients. Most importantly, these will not strip your scalp from our body’s natural oils. There products use no synthetic preservatives or foaming agents. You can find peppermint or lavender hair cream, or a citrus organic hair rinse which has coconut, olive and hemp oils to moisturize your scalp and hair. You can out find more about their products at drbronner.com, and their products can be bought in almost all health food stores around Israel, including Anise stores. In addition to working as a nurse, Natalie runs a clinic in Moshav Yanuv offering a wide range of natural treatment. Healing is achieved using homeopathy, reflexology, massage, flower remedies and nutritional wisdom. If you would like alternative answers to your health questions, or would like an appointment, email email@example.com.
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