What is it? Who is more at risk? How you can care for it.

Arthritis, an umbrella term for more than 100 diseases referring to joint inflammation. The least invasive and most common inflammations become, Osteoarthritis. The more difficult are Rheumatoid, Fibromyalgia, even gout.

Arthritis usually occurs with aging as the soft tissue protecting joints dissolves, leaving bone to rub against bone. Along with aging, weight, lack of exercise, or exercise over-using of specific joints, plus the heredity of DNA contribute to joint deterioration.

Women are more at risk for osteoarthritis. Men are at greater risk of gout. Although gout is an old disease, new studies show that it is caused by excess uric acid deposited in the joints. Too much alcohol interferes with the process of eliminating uric acid.

A regular Yoga asana practice cares for bone and muscle health as it strengthens joints, which is critical in preventing and or dealing with arthritis.

Creating greater bone density not only helps fight arthritis, it curbs osteoporosis. In a Columbia College study by physicians & surgeons, they related that 55% of everyone over 50 has low bone density. Adding greater fear was their take that women are as likely to die after a hip fracture as from breast cancer. The Columbia study reported that ‘Yoga practitioners live long and fracture-free lives suggesting that the unusual, and unusually prolonged pulls may be a stimulus to bone health.’

In other words, working with gravity, and against gravity, holding Asanas for long periods of time, as well as moving into and from the Asana with suppleness, stimulates bone & muscle to support a fabulous body of any age.

Diet support for arthritis health.

Fatty fish-including salmon, sardines, herring, tuna,or any others with a high omega-3 fatty acid content. The fish also contain vitamin D, which helps prevent swelling and soreness.

Beans & nuts, such as soy, walnuts, pumpkin, flax, and canola oil all decrease production of chemicals that increase and spread inflammation. Plus, they inhibit enzymes triggering arthritis.

Brazil nuts have high levels of selenium. A University of North Carolina study found that men with the highest levels of selenium had 40% less arthritis. Extremely low levels of selenium may be linked to rheumatoid arthritis. Selenium helps antioxidants clear cell damaging free radicals. If proven true… May help with cancers.

Increase vitamin D daily either with milk, yogurt, or a supplement. Taking a supplement becomes more important if you live in northern climes and don’t get any sun during the winter.

Another reason we love olive oil. About three tablespoons acts like a tiny dose of ibuprofen. (Monnell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia.) Remember that a tablespoon of olive oil has around 120 calories, so spend wisely.)

Foods rich in vitamin C. This includes citrus fruits, and most vegetables. The vitamin C protects collagen, a component of bone cartilage. Go for a minimum of 1,500 milligrams of C a day. Don’t overdo as they are finding that too muck can lead to osteoarthritis. Every body is different. If you’re not sure what’s right for you-ask your body. Listen. You’ll get the right answer. Eating your milligrams is always better than over- focusing on supplements.

The onion family, including leeks and chives, contains quercetin, an antioxidant that is proving to inhibit inflammatory chemicals. Tomatoes, apples, and kale are other quercetin enhanced foods.

Broccoli and cauliflower, along with cooked oatmeal, turkey, tomatoes, kale, apples, not only keep the doc away, they allow you to leap over tall buildings with joy and zest as you age.

Other supporting food and drink include cherries, black raspberries, grapes, and eggplant. Their magic ingredient is anthocyanins

Green Tea, 3-5 cups a day can help with joint inflammation.

Just say NO to Sugar, beef and shellfish.

There is no scientific proof, that I know of, in support of daily self-oil massages for arthritis. But try it, you’ll like it. And what your body likes, it responds to in alchemical fashion.

Ayurvedic self massage, or abhyanga, has supported health for thousands of years, especially when done daily as part of a self-care ritual. Massaging the skin with oils nourishes the nervous system, stimulates lymphatic flow and supports detoxing. It improves circulation and vitality, and is emotionally supportive and nurturing.

Warm the oil, let it soak into the skin 15-30 minutes. Use it before meditating on your many sins, then shower, letting sins, dead skin, and arthritis flow down the drain. Good oils to use are sesame, coconut, and sunflower.

Because arthritis is an inflammatory dis-ease, it makes sense that anything that soothes the soul, de-creases inflammation, physically and emotionally, will serve and nurture the body.