Reduce the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis by following a plant-based diet
04/09/2021 / By Brocky Wilson / Comments
Reduce the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis by following a plant-based diet

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes joint damage. It is marked by inflammation and joint pain, which occur during periods known as “flares.”

Rheumatoid arthritis can also affect other parts of the body, including your heart, skin and blood vessels. The most common symptoms of this disease are pain, swelling, stiffness and loss of function in your joints.

There is no mainstream cure for rheumatoid arthritis, but you can manage its symptoms by following a plant-based diet.

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How plant-based diets help you manage rheumatoid arthritis

Researchers from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a nonprofit organization based in Washington D.C., found that a plant-based diet is a helpful dietary intervention for rheumatoid arthritis.

They arrived at this conclusion after reviewing past studies that examined the impact of different diets on rheumatoid arthritis. One clinical trial showed that following a low-fat vegan diet for at least a month helps reduce joint pain, stiffness, swelling and tenderness in people with moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis.

The researchers attributed this effect to the diet’s low-fat, high-fiber components, which can help reduce inflammation. In a 2015 study, participants who followed a plant-based diet for two months enjoyed a reduction in inflammation.

Other studies also reported that diets high in fats and processed meat are associated with higher levels of inflammatory markers, such as C-reactive protein (CRP). On the other hand, high-fiber diets like plant-based diets are associated with low CRP levels.

Losing weight by following a plant-based diet can also benefit patients. According to a 2018 study, overweight individuals with rheumatoid arthritis who shed more than 10 pounds are three times more likely to experience relief from their symptoms than those who lose less weight.

The researchers noted that vegan and vegetarian diets promote weight loss more than any other diet.

The researchers also noted that fiber-rich plant-based diets can increase bacterial diversity in the gut. This is often lacking in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Additionally, some studies suggest that gut bacterial composition may play a key role in inflammation.

Hana Kahleova, director of clinical research for the Physicians Committee and one of the study authors, said that diets rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes may be helpful for people with rheumatoid arthritis.

“This study offers hope that with a simple menu change, joint pain, swelling, and other painful symptoms may improve or even disappear,” Kahleova said.

Anti-inflammatory foods to address rheumatoid arthritis

You can relieve joint pain and other symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis naturally by adding the following anti-inflammatory foods to your diet:

  1. Garlic – The sulfur compounds in garlic are known to reduce inflammation. Studies also show that eating garlic can reduce your risk of arthritis in the hip and enhance the function of your immune cells.
  2. Ginger – This superfood is known to reduce arthritis symptoms. According to studies, ginger can block the production of substances that promote inflammation.
  3. Walnuts – These nuts are chock-full of omega-3s. Studies show that these healthy fats can reduce arthritis symptoms and minimize your need for medications.
  4. Berries – Few foods are as rich in antioxidants as berries. These superfoods contain high levels of antioxidants like quercetin and rutin, which are known to reduce arthritis-related inflammation.
  5. Broccoli – Studies link the consumption of broccoli to decreased levels of inflammatory markers in the body. Broccoli compounds like sulforaphane also block the production of cells linked to the development of rheumatoid arthritis.
  6. Spinach – All leafy greens are beneficial for people with rheumatoid arthritis, especially spinach. This veggie is especially high in the antioxidant kaempferol, which helps counter substances that trigger inflammation.
  7. Olive oil – Animal studies show that olive oil helps stop the development of arthritis, reduces joint swelling and slows down cartilage destruction.
  8. Cherry juice – This beverage helps reduce inflammation and contains many nutrients that are important for health.

Following a plant-based diet helps relieve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis by reducing inflammation, promoting weight loss and boosting gut health. Eat more of the anti-inflammatory superfoods listed above as part of a balanced diet to stave off rheumatoid arthritis.

Sources:

Healthline.com 1

IntegrativePractitioner.com

MedicalNewsToday.com

Healthline.com 2

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