Rheumatoid arthritis is a type of inflammatory condition of the joints. Usually it affects the small joints in the feet and hands. However, the knees, shoulders and hips are also susceptible to rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the joints are mistakenly attacked by the immune system.
Although men and women regardless of age and gender suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, it is more common in postmenopausal women. Your diet may help to determine your risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. Diet containing anti-inflammatory components can protect your from arthritis. Moreover, a healthy diet is essential for maintaining the health and function of the joints damaged by inflammation.
Foods and Diet for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Eat Oily Fish
Fatty fish is the richest source of omega-3 fatty acids. These essential fatty acids work by inhibiting activities of immune substances that trigger inflammation.
Deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids in the diet is often blamed for inflammatory disorders. To reduce the severity of rheumatoid arthritis inflammation and pain consume at least two portions of oily fish each week.
Consume Foods with Calcium
To prevent degeneration of the bones in the joints affected by rheumatoid arthritis, consume sufficient calcium rich foods daily. Rheumatoid arthritis patients have a higher risk of developing osteoporosis. Hence, a diet rich in calcium is essential for maintaining the healthy bone mineral density. Low fat milk, dairy, green leafy vegetables and nuts are the best dietary sources of calcium.
Drink Green Tea
The antioxidant property of polyphenols in green tea can reduce inflammation and inhibit destruction of cartilages in the joints affected by arthritis. To fight inflammation and pain in the joints, drink several cups of green tea daily.
Eat Cruciferous Vegetables
Add cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage to your daily diet. Cruciferous vegetables contain a sulfur-containing compound called sulforaphane, which obstructs activities of enzymes associated with destruction of joint tissues.
Quercetin, a type of flavonoid present in onion, is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. By suppressing inflammatory immune substances, onions help to fight inflammation.
Mediterranean Type Diet
A Mediterranean type diet is ideally suited for rheumatoid arthritis patients. Studies suggest that the traditional Mediterranean diet helps to reduce inflammation, tenderness of the joints and reduces morning stiffness.
A Mediterranean style diet comprises of a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds and olive oil, moderate quantity of dairy, fish and poultry and fewer red meat. The antioxidant components in the plant products protect the affected joints from the harmful activities of free radicals and the healthy unsaturated fats inhibit the activities of pro-inflammatory substances.
Food intolerance is believed to aggravate the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis patients often complain about worsening of symptoms after eating certain foods. As sensitivity to foods varies from person to person, in order to design an appropriate diet to fight rheumatoid arthritis, you should first identify the dietary triggers through an exclusion diet.
An exclusion diet usually starts with a fast. Fasting helps to eliminate toxic substances from the body. Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms tend to improve during the fast. After resuming the normal diet, introduce the suspected allergens gradually to the diet. Maintain a food journal to identify foodstuffs that trigger arthritis.
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