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Rheumatoid arthritis is a debilitating disease for many people.  While stress can make the condition much worse for some people, rheumatoid arthritis can also create lots of stress for you as well.

Stress Management for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Stress can cause the release of chemicals in your body that will trigger inflammation and pain, therefore making the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis increased. To de-stress and help alleviate the pain and inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis, here are some ways to cut some stress out of your life:

  • Exercise
  • Breathe deeply
  • Talk out the things that are bothering you
  • Get organized
  • Embrace the outdoors
  • Enjoy life
  • Don't sweat the small stuff

Good fats? Bad fats? You will not find these terms on food labels. Instead you will see words like polyunsaturated and trans fats. This article will give you a brief explanation of the four types of fats (saturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and trans fats) and how they affect your body.

Understanding Fats

Saturated Fats

Saturated fats are fats that stay solid at room temperature, such as lard, coconut oil and cow butter. Saturated fats are considered “bad fats” because they raise your bad cholesterol level, thereby raising your total cholesterol level. People whose diet consists of many foods high in saturated fats typically are at a higher risk of heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular disease.

Monounsaturated Fats

Monounsaturated fats have a lower melting temperature than saturated fats, which means that they do not stay solid at room temperature.  These types of fats can be found in: peanut oil, olive oil, nuts and avocados.

Polyunsaturated Fats

Polyunsaturated fats are fats that can stay liquid even at lower temperatures, such as corn oil and sunflower oil.  Polyunsaturated fats are also found in soybeans, fish, fish oil and in grain products. Dieticians consider polyunsaturated fats the “good fats” as they lower cholesterol and they help prevent cardiovascular disease by lowering the amount of fat in the blood. 

Trans Fats

Trans fats are man-made fats that are created during the hydrogenation process.  These types of fats are unnatural and toxic to your body.  Trans fats are abundant in packaged and processed foods. Dieticians consider trans fats the “bad fats” as they can cause cancer, diabetes, obesity, birth defects, low birth weight babies, and sterility.

Now that the kids are back in school and the weather is starting to change, it's time to start worrying about the cold and flu season.  But this year your worrying can be less if you take the following dos and don'ts into consideration and protect your family and yourself.

Flu and Cold Season Tips

Do use hand sanitizer.  Always carry a pocket-size hand sanitizer with you and use it generously whenever you are in public places.  Germs are everywhere and on everything and by using hand sanitizer you are protecting yourself from bringing home these flu viruses.

Do wash your hands frequently.  It may seem like the simplest thing to do but be sure that you are washing your hands frequently with warm water and soap, and for at least 15 to 20 seconds.  Teachers are now telling students to sing the ABC's or Happy Birthday to themselves while they are washing their hands to be sure you are washing for a full 15 to 20 seconds.

Do sneeze into the crook of your elbow.  By sneezing into your elbow, you are avoiding transmitting flu viruses to your hands and will keep you from passing the virus to others. It may seem socially awkward at first, but soon you will see more and more people doing this when they sneeze.

Don't shake hands.  To keep from transmitting germs, avoid shaking hands with people when you greet them.  Try a head nod, waving or smiling instead to greet someone.  If you can't avoid shaking someone's hand, then be sure to use your hand sanitizer following the hand shake.

Don't use someone else's phone or computer mouse.  Phones and computers harbor some pretty heinous germs for hours.  Avoid sharing someone else's phone or computer mouse if possible.  If you do have to use someone else's phone or computer wipe it down with an alcohol swab prior to using it.

Despite what many people believe, not all workouts are effective and conducive to losing weight and toning up.  There are several workouts that you will see people doing at your gym any given day of the week that are ineffective.

Unless you have the best form and are using some of these machines like textbook, then you may be doing more harm than good to your body.

Ineffective workouts

The following are some examples of the least effective exercises that you can do:

  • Behind the Head Lat Pull Downs: Unfortunately, only those with very mobile shoulder joints can keep their spine straight enough to get a good workout from the behind the back lat pull down bar. The move done wrong can tear the rotator cuff.
  • Behind the Head Military Press: This exercise done similarly to the behind the head lat pull down, can cause the same problems with the rotator cuff that other exercise could cause.
  • Lying Leg Press (with knees bent too deeply): This exercise is typically done to work your quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes and is done on a machine where you use your feet to push a weighted plate up and down.  If you bend your knees too far, then you can seriously injure your back and/or knees.
  • Squats on a Smith Machine: While the Smith Machine is generally an effective machine, the bar on the machine doesn't give, which can force the body into risky positions, including placing their feet too far in front of them while doing their squats.
  • Using Bad Form on Cardio Machines: While using bad form is not good on any machine, using bad form on cardio equipment is a big no-no. Hunching over can throw off your alignment, jarring your spine, shoulders and elbows.
  • Always Lifting with a Weight Belt: Unless you have a back injury, are lifting a lot of weight or if you have some other medical reason, then a weight belt is not necessary.  Wearing a weight belt too often can weaken your core muscles, throwing off your entire workout.
  • Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A in the form of beta carotene and vitamin C.
  • The nutrients in sweet potatoes are also anti-inflammatory, which means that besides being great tasting, sweet potatoes can help reduce the severity of conditions like asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • In addition, sweet potatoes are a good source of vitamin B6.

Sweet Potatoes

Recipe: Golden Sweet Potato Brownies

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups peeled and finely shredded sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; stir into the batter just until blended. Fold in the shredded yam. Spread the batter evenly in the greased baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes. Mix together the confectioners' sugar, butter and milk until smooth. Spread over the brownies while they are still warm.

Recipe: Spicy Baked Sweet Potato Fries

  • 6 sweet potatoes cut into French fries
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons taco seasoning mix
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

In a plastic bag, combine the sweet potatoes, canola oil, taco seasoning, and cayenne pepper. Close and shake the bag until the fries are evenly coated. Spread the fries out in a single layer on two large baking sheets.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until crispy and brown on one side. Turn the fries over using a spatula, and cook for another 30 minutes, or until they are all crispy on the outside and tender inside. Thinner fries may not take as long.