What causes arthritis? Inflammation. Arthritis literally means inflammation of the joints. So when I venture out on my journey to help my mom with her osteoarthritis of the hip, I am really coming up with ways to fight inflammation – and this can be helpful for people with various medical conditions since inflammation is involved in so many diseases (autoimmune diseases, cancer, heart disease, asthma, allergies, etc.). Right now she is on an NSAID – these meds have the potential to cause gastrointestinal bleeding, clots, and heart attacks – this is not something I want her to be on long-term!
My mom has type O positive blood like I do which means she is prone to certain health conditions, one of them being arthritis. (More about the blood type diets to come in future blogs). The more she strays from the blood type diet the more she will aggravate these health conditions that she is already prone to. The type O diet says to limit carbs. Type O’s are meat and vegetable eaters and are to stay away from wheat and corn. A low carb diet should benefit her arthritis, as well as eating the right carbs – type O’s tolerate rice, spelt, and millet but not wheat, for example.
Another theory that limiting carbs (and processed foods and vegetable oils) would be beneficial is to consider the omega-3 to omega-6 ratio. Omega-3 is anti-inflammatory and very important to the diet. You can read more information on omega’s on my blog post at www.ktipfitclub.com . I would recommend krill oil (fish oil is also appropriate, as well as eating fish) as a source of omega-3 and an anti-inflammatory agent.
A third reassurance to the theory that limiting carbs would be beneficial to my mom is the nutritional type diet (which I will discuss more in the future). I learned about this diet through Dr. Mercola – a naturalist doc whose articles I love to read. According to this diet, my mom would be a ‘protein type’ and do best by focusing on meat and plenty of low carb veggies. Carbohydrates should be limited and eaten with healthy fats after protein and vegetables are consumed.
Where else can inflammation come from on our diet? Sugar and refined carbs are big culprits, as well as food allergens. Gluten is a common allergen so doing a trial elimination may be worthwhile. You can experiment with other common food allergens as well to see if there are hidden allergens contributing to inflammation – nuts, dairy, eggs, yeast, corn, etc.
What is a great natural anti-inflammatory? Exercise! Staying active will help keep inflammation at bay. I recommend Pilates, yoga, or tai chi for my mom to help strengthen muscles without putting too much strain on her hip. Swimming would also be a great non-weight bearing way to get a cardio workout. Waist size is also associated with inflammation, so losing weight can help get inflammation under control. Stress can contribute to inflammation as well so discovering ways to effectively managing stress is important (exercise should help!). In my next post I will discuss herbs and supplements that can be used for inflammation/arthritis.
My health update
My beta hcg levels for November were still less than 1! I was a little nervous because I stopped taking my birth control pills (under the recommendation of my naturalist doctor friend Dr. Weinberger as well as personal preference). My gynecological oncologist had informed me of the importance of staying on birth control, however, I do not like putting medications, hormones, toxins, etc. into my body! I have great respect for her, however, am very particular about what goes in or on my body! The reasoning for the birth control is to lessen the chances of false positive hcg levels. Birth control pills suppress FSH and LH which are hormones similar in structure to hcg and can therefore cause a false positive. I stopped my birth control in October because I just couldn’t bear putting it into my body anymore, and I feel like my estrogen is out of balance. Next month is my last hcg draw and hopefully it will remain <1 with no false positives! (Hcg level going back up would mean more chemo – this time with even nastier agents). After drawing my level next month, I have my final follow-up visit with my doc and hopefully that will be the last time I ever have to step foot into the cancer center!!