Though it is still arguable among scientist community as to how diet affects Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) but there is a consensus that a nutritious well balanced diet helps in relieving symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis and maintain overall health.
Though there is no specific diet which will benefit all RA patients but evidence suggests that certain foods help people reduce inflammation and relieve symptoms. Since all people respond differently to nutritional changes, it is important to determine which foods make you feel better and which do not come across kindly to you.
Various Diet Tips For Rheumatoid Arthritis
Make Mediterranean Diet Your Staple Diet
Mediterranean diet includes whole grains, fish, fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts and olive oil. All these foods are high in good nutrients like phyochemicals, unsaturated fats, fiber and antioxidants. Phytochemicals and antioxidants are especially beneficial in reducing inflammation. Unsaturated fats keep cardiovascular diseases at bay which is another perk for RA patients as they are more prone to catch cardiovascular problems. The other benefit of following Mediterranean diet is that it helps in losing weight and less weight means less strain on joints of legs.
Include Iron Rich Foods In Your Diet
Tiredness and constant fatigue is a very common symptom of RA. Anemia can make your fatigue worse hence it is very important to eat iron rich foods.Your anemia can be worse if you have been on non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for long time which can lead to internal bleeding and stomach ulcers. Rich sources of iron include liver, green leafy vegetables, eggs, pulses, legumes, etc.
Control Your Sugar Intake
Excessive sugar intake is bad for your overall health including RA. Sugar increases your body’s acidity levels, raises the risk of hypertension and promote inflammation. Excessive sugar consumption can also lead to a weaker immune system by causing WBC to stop fighting infection. Avoid refined sugars from your diet. Include healthy sugars like jaggery and honey in your diet.
Eat More Omega -3 Fatty Acids
Omega -3 fatty acids are found in fish which may be helpful in reducing inflammation. Fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel, etc contain good amount of omega-3 fatty acids. Fish oil is also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. According to American College of Rheumatology, some people have reported less pain and tenderness after consuming fish oil for regularly for 3-4 months. Vegetarian sources of omega-3 fatty acids include walnuts, flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, seeds, etc.
Include Calcium Rich Foods
It is important that everybody eat enough calcium to keep bones and teeth healthy. This is an ever bigger consideration for people suffering from RA because such people are on high risk of developing osteoporosis. Foods rich in calcium include green leafy vegetables, milk, cheese, yogurt, eggs, almonds, fish, fortified orange juice, etc. Our body needs vitamin D for absorbing calcium.
Most of us get enough vitamin D from sunlight but those who live in extremely cold areas can fulfill this need by consuming vegetable oils, wheat germ, sunflower seeds, fish, eggs and fortified cereals. These dietary changes should help you in getting relief from RA symptoms however, make sure to consult with your doctor before you make any drastic dietary changes or take any dietary supplement.