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Stress and Rheumatoid Arthritis

A Powerful Three-Pronged Plan to Counter Arthritis by Reducing Stress

Medical researchers know with certainty that stress makes rheumatoid arthritis worse. The exact mechanism of how stress increases arthritis pain and inflammation is still not understood with precise scientific accuracy. Theories are based upon stress hormones, especially cortisol.

The good news is that simply knowing that stress is a problem means we can take action to counter it. It's established medical fact that when arthritis sufferers reduce their stress, they also slow the progression of their condition and reduce pain.

Foods Can Counter Stress

While most efforts to reduce stress center around physical and psychological techniques, such as exercise, yoga or meditation, we can actually eat foods that biochemically counter cortisol and other stress hormones.

Several food have been identified as stress blockers, while also providing vitamins, enzymes, nutrients and antioxidants that bolster feelings of calm, centered well-being. Here are the Top 5 'Super Foods' that all arthritis sufferers should consider to bolster their diet:

Asparagus -- It's high in folic acid. One serving provides ⅔ of all the folic acid you need for a day. The evidence is excellent that asparagus reduces stress and depression.

Avocados -- The benefits are many. Stress and anxiety are rooted in low levels of an array of B Vitamins. Avocados deliver this substance in abundance while also supplying the body with monounsaturated fat and potassium, which helps lower blood pressure.

Blueberries -- Just a small handful of blueberries are packed with a range of powerful antioxidants, including Vitamin C. Stress attacks the cell structure of our bodies and also generates cortisol. Blueberries contain many of the exact substances you need to counter both cell damage and stress hormones.

Almonds -- Munching daily on almonds delivers a load of stress-fighting Vitamin E and B to your system. A half-cup of almonds a day can produce remarkable results.

Oranges -- A very direct connection has been observed in the ability of oranges and orange juice to reduce the amount of cortisol in the body. High in Vitamin C and potassium, oranges are exactly what arthritis sufferers need.

Out with the Bad

Keep in mind that reducing stress through diet is as much about what you should avoid as what you choose to eat.

You may already know that fatty food, nutrition-poor foods and the "empty calories" found in candies and sweet breads are counterproductive to overall health. These foods produce weight gain, which increases stress. They also make you more sluggish, meaning you will be less motivated to exercise and move around.

Getting exercise is a critical and well-identified factor in reducing stress, and especially important for those living with rheumatoid arthritis.

A Complete Approach

One might call stress reduction and easing arthritis a three-pronged approach.

First, be more proactive in eating those foods known to reduce stress. Second, avoid all the bad stuff, from drinking alcohol and smoking, to greasy, fatty and sugary foods. Third, establish a regular exercise routine, preferably doing something you enjoy. Finally, there is no question that yoga and practicing any simple form of daily meditation are powerful reducers of stress.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a persistent enemy, but a three-part plan of attack is a powerful defense. Choosing to eat healthy and get moving can make an amazing difference in countering arthritis pain.