7 Drug-Free Ways to Relieve Rheumatoid Arthritis

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arthritis-xrayThis article originally appeared on Live in the Now.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) afflicts approximately 1% of the global population, and disability, to some degree, occurs in 50 to 70% of cases within five years of the onset. Unlike osteoarthritis, it can lead to crippling joint deformities and death. One of the distinguishing symptoms is pain in the hands and feet.

The main “remedies” recommended by physicians for RA are prescription drugs. Unfortunately, RA medications are among the most dangerous — and addictive — on the market. In addition, they merely alleviate symptoms rather than get to the root of the problem.

Natural options offer a safer and more effective means of RA remediation. Here are seven to consider:

Reduce Sugar Intake

According to noted natural health proponent Dr. Joseph Mercola, RA is due to chronic inflammation, a problem that results from eating foods high in fructose and other sugars. He says that addressing the diet is the first step to healing, so foods that are processed and sugary should be avoided. This measure includes abstaining from beverages sweetened with either sugar or artificial sweeteners.

Take Curcumin

Curcumin can lessen the pain and inflammation of RA. In a 2012 study published in Phytotherapy Research, a highly bioavailable form of curcumin was found to relieve joint tenderness and swelling caused by the disease. The spice proved to be more effective than the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug Voltaren.

Drink Mangosteen Juice

Multiple animal and lab studies indicate mangosteen juice has considerable anti-inflammatory properties. A few human studies suggest it reduces blood levels of a protein associated with inflammation that may be produced by RA. Not all brands of mangosteen juice are alike, so purchase a good quality product that isn’t diluted with water.

Consume Ginger

Fresh ginger is also beneficial for RA. A 2014 study published in Arthritis reveals some constituents of ginger decreased pain and helped stop some of the bone destruction of the disorder. In fact, the results were so promising that the researchers concluded the spice has potential for improving symptoms, as well as remediating the underlying abnormal physiology that causes RA. To consume fresh ginger root, boil it in water and drink the tea. You can also grate it into vegetable juice.

See also: 2 More Natural Treatment Options for Arthritis Sufferers

Try Acupuncture

Acupuncture is an Eastern healing technique of stimulating certain body points through the insertion of thin needles, which are left in place for a few minutes to an hour. A few small studies show the treatment can alleviate RA symptoms.

Exercise Regularly

Getting regular exercise will help maintain strength, flexibility and joint range of motion. It also relieves depression, a malady that tends to plague people coping with a chronic illness, including RA. Avoid high-impact sports, instead opt for more gentle modes of exercise such as walking, swimming, tai chi or water aerobics. Consider seeing a physical therapist, who can establish an exercise program tailored to your needs.

Avoid Foods Contaminated with Herbicides Like Glyphosate

Mercola recommends avoiding food contaminated with glyphosate, the herbicide in Monsanto’s Roundup, because it is linked to autoimmune inflammation. Unfortunately, glyphosate is sprayed liberally on conventional crops along with genetically engineered ones, but you can avoid it by purchasing organic foods.

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