There is a diet for everything: low carbohydrate, high fat, high protein, the cabbage soup diet, the grapefruit diet, and more. Ask any doctor, and he or she will probably tell you that there are certain foods that will further irritate a condition called rheumatoid arthritis (inflammation of the joins and surrounding tissues). So the diet to prevent that irritation, and to hopefully control the condition, is called the rheumatoid arthritis diet. However, it is important to note that every individual is different; a food that might negatively affect one individual might not necessarily affect another. This is just a general list that may help you reduce flare ups!
Foods to Avoid
Studies show that certain fats can cause inflammation in the body.
Saturated fat is one of these, so avoiding foods that are high in saturated fat, more specifically, animal foods, can help you avoid unnecessary flare ups. Not only are the fats in bacon, steak, cream, and butter saturated, but these foods also contain chemicals called prostaglandins that cause inflammation, swelling, pain, and joint destruction in rheumatoid arthritis. Some studies have also concluded that meat also has another substance called arachidonic acid, which is a fatty acid that gets converted into prostaglandins. Some people with rheumatoid arthritis find it beneficial to avoid meat.
Omega-6 fatty acids are another fat that might cause inflammation in the body. It is present in vegetable oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, soybean oil, sesame oil, and wheat germ oil. The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids in the diets of most people is too much omega-6 to omega-3; this is said to be the contributing factor to this inflammation, so eating more omega-3 fatty acids will reduce this risk for inflammation.
Food allergies. If you are sensitive to certain foods, such as foods that cause an allergic reaction, it is important to eliminate these from the diet because it puts strain on the immune system every time you eat these foods. This could include wheat products, milk products, and synthetic preservatives/additives; of course, this will vary per individual.
Eggplant, tomatoes, potatoes, and chili peppers. The theory here doesn’t have sound scientific proof, but some people have found that these foods aggravate the pain of rheumatoid arthritis. The thing they all have in common is that they are nightshade plants.
Other foods. The following foods can be harmful for rheumatoid arthritis, so reducing them or eliminating them from the diet can be beneficial. They include fried foods, processed foods, tea, coffee, dairy products, berries and other citrus fruits, excessive salt, and alcohol.
Foods to Eat
Omega-3 fatty acid foods are beneficial because this fat is said to balance out the effects of omega-6 fatty acid. They have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body. Omega-3’s are present in cold-water fish (like salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, and trout), nuts, tofu, soybean products, flaxseed and flax oil, avocado and avocado oil, walnuts, almonds, and canola oil.
Fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes. Some studies show that a diet high in fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes can be beneficial for rheumatoid arthritis. All of these categories of food are high in phytonutrients, which are chemicals in plants that have disease-fighting properties and antioxidants; antioxidants are good for the immune system and fight damaging free-radicals that can damage healthy tissue. They are present in vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, and selenium.
Bioflavonoids are also substances present in plant foods that have anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, and anti-tumor characteristics.
Dropping extra weight can be good for the bones and joints because it alleviates some of the strain put on them, particularly on the hips, knees, heart, and more areas. Being overweight or obese puts unnecessary strain on these areas and can cause more inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis.
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