Arthritis is one of the most common forms of illness and it can prove expensive to manage this condition. The total cost of arthritis and related conditions was about $128 billion in 2003. Of this amount, nearly $81 billion was for direct medical costs and $47 billion was for indirect costs associated with lost earnings.
WHAT IS ARTHRITIS?
It simply means swollen joints with pain and stiffness. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis and related conditions. People of all ages, sexes and races can and do have arthritis.
HOW DOES IT DEVELOP?
Food habit wise
According to Ayurveda, arthritis develops when someone regularly eats:
- a) foods which are devoid of nourishing attributes such as calcium etc.
- b) foods which are aggravating in nature like too sweet, oily or excessively dry in nature.
- c) incompatible foods e.g. https://www.theayurvedaexperience.com/blog/incompatible-food-combos/
- d) When someone has weak digestion
This could lead to the formation of undigested material called “Ama”. Ama is the Ayurvedic name for the toxins that have accumulated in your body. These toxins could then get absorbed back into the system, and have the potential to localize in your joints and cause arthritis according to Ayurveda.
According to Ayurveda, you’re more likely to develop some form of arthritis if you, for example:
- have food followed by traveling bumpy roads
- have food followed by walking fast/long,
- have food followed by indulging in sexual activity
- have a habit of sleeping during the day
- have a habit of exercising
All these lead to vitiation of nutrition carrying channels as well as excretory channels. When these channels are not able to:
- Provide proper nutrition: bones, joints and related tendons need nutrition to maintain their structure, strength and function. When proper nutrition is not there, the joint fluids’ structure begins to deteriorate. This causes compromised function of the joint and pain.
- Expel the toxins effectively, locally or from the entire body, they tend to harbor in joints, thereby accumulating over a period of time. After a while, these toxins then precipitate in the joints itself, causing restriction of movement.
- Emotional factors such as passion, anger, greed, confusion, envy; grief, excitement, fear etc.
may be responsible for a particular type of arthritis according to Ayurveda. When the above factors are coupled with earlier mentioned inappropriate diet and lifestyle, they cause weak digestion. Due to weak digestion there is formation of toxic waste called “Ama”.
How to manage:
Are your joints aching more today than on other days? Try to remember what you’ve been eating and try to find a pattern. Specially heavy or difficult to digest foods like high protein such as kidney beans, high in sugar or gas (vata) forming tend to worsen the pain. Avoid these foods!
- Cold water and cold beverages
- Jaggery/ sugarcane products
- Ice cream
(Curd and milk, though sources of calcium may be avoided till detox).
Include these foods for a wholesome diet:
- Horse gram
- Red rice
- Drumsticks or moringa (try looking for this vegetable at a store like Whole Foods)
- Bitter gourd
- Hot water
Such food items are easily digestible. They help restore digestion power and detox the body.
Tips to reduce the risk of being prone to arthritis:
- Exposure to a cold or humid climate can aggravate the pain in joints. Avoid the cold weather by covering up your body well.
- With age, a tendency of degenerative changes in joints occurs. You can regularly massage your joints to help strengthen them (There are different types of arthritis according to Ayurveda, so you should consult an Ayurveda practitioner before you start the massage. In some types of arthritis, applying oil is beneficial, however in some others, it does not help).
- Sleep well (on time, for an adequate length etc). It gives your body the time to repair itself. Avoid sleeping during the day, however.
- Try to get some regular light exercise as advised by your primary care physician.
- Some Ayurvedic therapies like Herbal pain relieving Steam sessions, Herbal enemas, and joint massages with particular oils help a lot.
- You can also take an herbal dietary supplement to support natural care of joints. Consult with your Ayurvedic practitioner to find the appropriate supplement.
This is strictly for educational purpose only.
These are basic dietary guidelines and not to be considered medical advice