Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune and incurable disease. People suffering from it constantly look out for solutions to ease the pain and discomfort caused by it. This article discusses about diet plan for rheumatoid arthritis.

Diet Plan For Rheumatoid Arthritis

The food we eat can play a big role in how our symptoms ease or flare up, hence a proper diet plan for rheumatoid arthritis is important. A well- balanced diet comprising of food which helps out with the symptoms of the disease, prove to be of great help to the patients, whether they are undergoing any treatment or not. While diet alone cannot cure the condition but a good diet for rheumatoid arthritis can lower down the inflammation and suffering present in this illness.

Food to Include In The Diet Plan for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Here are some of the best foods to include in the diet plan if you are suffering from rheumatoid arthritis:

  • Omega-3 fatty acid - The fats present in foods containing omega-3 fatty acids, lower inflammation, hence must be included in the diet plan for rheumatoid arthritis. It also helps in keeping down the level of bad cholesterol in the body which is associated with heart diseases. Since rheumatoid arthritis is the risk factor for heart disease, including omega-3 fatty acids in the diet is really beneficial. Fatty fish, nuts, and seeds, and plant oils like flaxseed oil, canola oil and soybean oil, are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Beans - Beans bear anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. They are a rich source of fiber, which can help lower down the C-reactive protein level, which is a sign of inflammation in the body. It is also a rich source of protein which helps in keeping the muscles around the joints strong. All this makes it a must include food item in the diet plan for rheumatoid arthritis. Along with all above, beans also is a good source of magnesium, folic acid, zinc, and potassium which gives the heart and the immune system a boost.
  • Cherries - Cherries contain anthocyanins, which gives them their bright red color. Apart from imparting color, they are strong anti-oxidants. They help in lowering down the inflammation, thus reducing the pain and swelling in the patient suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Anthocyanins are also present in other fruits like raspberries and blueberries. So, go ahead and include these in your diet plan for rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Leafy greens - All the green leafy vegetables are the richest source of all the vitamins like vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K. These vitamins prevent the free radical damage in the body. Green vegetables are also rich in calcium which is required to keep the bones strong, giving another reason to have them in your diet for rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Turmeric - Turmeric contains a compound known as curcumin, which is well known for its anti-inflammatory properties. It helps in lowering down the pain and swelling present due to joint inflammation. It can be taken in everyday food and can also be added to the milk.
  • Olive oil - Olive oils contain a natural chemical which stops the production of chemicals that cause inflammation. Hence, it is one of the essential foods to be added to your diet plan for rheumatoid arthritis. The extra virgin olive oil contains a high content of the nutrients good for the body.
  • Whole grains - Whole grains are rich in fiber, which helps in lowering the CRP level in the body. Fiber also fills up the body and manages the appetite. This can further help to maintain a healthy weight, which can prevent the pressure on the joints. If a person is overweight an excess of pressure is put on the joints, which further leads to damage. Therefore maintaining a healthy weight is also good for easing out the joint pain. Thus, whole grains, which are beneficial in every way must be necessarily included in your diet plan for rheumatoid arthritis.

Food to Avoid If Suffering From Rheumatoid Arthritis

The diet plan for rheumatoid arthritis must also exclude certain foods that are known to cause harm.

Processed food - The Trans-fat content in processed food like cookies, chips, pasta, and other junk, triggers inflammation throughout the body. Processed food also raises the bad cholesterol level lowering the good one. Not only for rheumatoid arthritis but also for general health processed food should be avoided.

Sugar - Sugar signals the body to release cytokines which starts the process of inflammation. Always check on the food label for sucrose or fructose before buying them. That is the sugar content which you would need to avoid.

Salt - Excess of salt in the body causes fluid retention, which may lead to rise in the blood pressure level. If suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and taking a steroid treatment, the body tends to hold on the salt more. Avoid salt intake wherever possible.

Alcohol - Certain rheumatoid arthritis medications do not go well with alcohol. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and naproxen can lead to stomach bleeding and ulcers, this can increase if alcohol is taken. Drinking alcohol while on methotrexate can damage the liver. Diet as said above does not cure but to a good level help you be at ease.

These essential changes in the diet can help ease off inflammation and reduce the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. This diet plan for rheumatoid arthritis can also help in maintaining good health and protect your from many illnesses.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: February 6, 2019

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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