Diet can go a long way in maintaining good health along with being a method of treatment for specific health conditions. Case-in-point, consuming the right diet may help offer relief from rheumatoid arthritis (RA) symptoms along with contributing to disease management.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in the body, contributing to symptoms like swelling, stiffness, and joint pain. The body’s own immune system begins to attack the body’s tissue contributing to symptoms.
It has been suggested that an anti-inflammatory diet may be best in controlling the disease and offering relief of symptoms.
Anti-inflammatory diets are geared towards consuming foods, which can combat inflammation. Inflammation in the body is linked to illness and diseases including heart disease, cancer, stroke, allergies, diabetes, and autoimmune diseases.
The thing with anti-inflammatory diets is that they are not a one-size-fits-all type of diet that can be easily recommended to the masses. This is because what triggers inflammation in one person may not trigger inflammation in someone else, so there is plenty of trial and error in finding the best anti-inflammatory foods for a person to eat.
There are certain foods that are well recognized to trigger inflammation such as dairy and gluten, but as mentioned, everyone can react differently to different foods.
General recommendations for an anti-inflammatory diet include plenty of fruits and vegetables, fish, whole grains, and other foods which are high in antioxidants.
The goal of an anti-inflammatory diet is to reduce inflammation. Significant culprits of inflammation include fat and sugar, so right away, it’s essential to begin to eliminate foods high in fat and sugar and replace them with omegas and antioxidants.
Some studies have been conducted on an anti-inflammatory diet in RA patients and have suggested that this diet may help reduce disease progression along with reducing symptoms. Specific food items beneficial in RA patients include prunes, ginger, turmeric, pomegranates, whole grains, and blueberries.
Other beneficial foods include fish, nutrient-dense foods, bone broth, and fermented foods. It is also recommended that along with an anti-inflammatory diet, patients should still exercise when possible, reduce their intake of alcohol and caffeine, sleep well, and reduce stress.
Because every person is different, there may be some trial-and-error when finding an anti-inflammatory diet which best suits your needs. A good rule of thumb is to start by eliminating common inflammatory foods such as grains, legumes, nightshade vegetables (e.g., tomatoes, eggplants), dairy, eggs, coffee, alcohol, nuts and seeds, refined/processed sugars, oils, and food additives. From there, you can begin to compile a list of potential triggers.
Although diet may not be a cure-all, it may be a useful complementary treatment to prescribed medications to offer greater relief to rheumatoid arthritis.
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