Written by: Caroline Cosgrove
If you are living with arthritis, there is little that you take for granted. Like getting a good night’s sleep or brushing your teeth, buttoning your pants, tying your shoes… holding your loved ones hand. The acute pain brought on by inflammation of the joints, known as Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), is debilitating. The effects, if left untreated, can leave you feeling depressed and isolated.
But you are NOT alone!
1.3 million Americans are affected by Rheumatoid Arthritis. Though it is still unclear as to the actual cause, RA is an autoimmune disease. Your body’s cells mistake your own proteins as foreign intruders. Immune cells – called lymphocytes – react to this “intruder”, causing the release of cytokines. Cytokines are like chemical messengers that trigger more inflammation and destruction, which affects the synovial capsule and surrounding tissue, causing inflammation. Over time, the chronic inflammation leads to joint damage and deformities, fatigue, loss of appetite and stiffness.
Though there is no cure for RA, there are ways you can make the side-effects less severe. As with most diseases that cause inflammation, a change in diet along with daily exercise is a great start! And adding a juice regimen will help you get back on track to living a normal life.
The following 5 recipes are easy to make with ingredients you can find in your local supermarket. They’re healing and delicious!
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
Understand that proper nutrition is vital, even if you are in optimal health. If you are seeking medical attention for your RA symptoms, discuss your plans to include a juicing regimen with your doctor before you begin.
If you are new to juicing and do not own a juicer, DO NOT be overwhelmed by all of the choices. First, decide if you want a centrifugal (most common, high-speed juicer, creates heat which weakens the quality of the juice, quick cleanup, effectively juices wide range of produce except wheatgrass) or a masticating juicer (slower speed, higher quality juice, juices wheatgrass, quieter motor, additional attachments for smoothies, nut butters).
Once you have your juicer – clear out some space in your fridge for produce. I suggest you make the space by getting rid of foods that are highly processed and high in sugar. You may even want to try an elimination diet.
An Elimination Diet is just like it sounds. You remove certain foods from your diet for 3-4 weeks and then slowly begin to introduce the foods back, one at a time. The ones that aggravate your RA or your gut, you know to avoid. Start removing foods that are known to cause inflammation: dairy, red meat, gluten, soy, corn and nightshade vegetables (tomato, potato, mushrooms, eggplants, peppers).
Toxins in our environment and in our food supply can also increase inflammation and it is best to go organic when available. Refer to the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 list to know which conventional foods contain the highest amount of toxins and which are the cleanest choices.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Benefits of juicing can be noticed immediately. More energy, heightened sense of awareness and mental clarity, digestive regularity, just to name a few. Inflammation and relief from pain associated with RA can take upwards of 6 weeks before you begin to feel noticeable differences. Be patient and be consistent!
READY… SET… JUICE!
The following are recipes that are high in antioxidants, Vitamin C and Beta Carotene. They are proven to help your body decrease inflammation and make you feel awesome! An extra bonus – juicing daily helps to rehydrate skin, making you look younger, brighter and more refreshed. If that doesn’t sell you alone, then keep reading!