Rheumatoid arthritis is a complex disease. One of the main symptoms is joint inflammation, which can be incredibly painful. Everyday Health points out several options for treating inflammation, including RA prescription medication, NSAIDs (such as ibuprofen and naproxen), corticosteroids and biologic drugs.
While taking your prescription and supplementing with over-the-counter medicine as needed are useful tactics, you can also combat inflammation by eating an anti-inflammatory diet. Researchers from the Arthritis Foundation recommend this diet for RA sufferers, but since inflammation is never good, anyone can benefit from adopting an anti-inflammatory diet.
Many types of fish – salmon, sardines and tuna to name a few – are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These beneficial nutrients reduce levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin-6, two proteins that cause inflammation.
Fruits and Veggies
The antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables support a healthy immune system, which may help fight inflammation. Colorful plants are especially beneficial, including berries, kale, spinach and broccoli.
Nuts and Seeds
Monounsaturated fat is known for its ability to fight inflammation, and nuts and seeds are chock-full of them. Their high protein and fiber content make them a great mid-day snack. Reach for walnuts, almonds, pistachios and pine nuts for these benefits.
Another example of healthy fat, olive oil also contains oleocanthal, a compound that can lower joint pain and inflammation. A few tablespoons per day used for grilling vegetables or in salad dressing is just the right amount.
Beans and Legumes
Black beans, kidney beans, lima beans and other legumes should be prominent foods in your diet. Not only are they rich in antioxidants, but they also have anti-inflammatory compounds. Plus, they’re a low-cost source of fiber, protein and many important minerals.
Packed with antioxidants, onions may also help reduce inflammation, heart disease and cholesterol levels. Add a few raw rings to salads and sandwiches, or sauté a handful and add it to stir-fries and pasta dishes.
Eating fiber lowers CRP levels, so fill up on oatmeal, brown rice, bran, legumes, nuts, fruits and vegetables. These foods are better at reducing inflammation than fiber supplements.
Eggplant, tomatoes, peppers and potatoes are all “nightshade” vegetables. While only limited scientific evidence has suggested that these foods cause inflammation, try cutting them from your diet for a few weeks and see if your symptoms improve.
Anyone on a health-conscious diet knows to avoid salt to help reduce high blood pressure. If you’re taking corticosteroids to treat RA, your body is likely to retain more sodium, making the problem even worse. Never add salt to your food and read labels for hidden sodium content before you eat it.
Cookies, chips and other bagged and boxed foods tend to be high in unhealthy fats, which can worsen inflammation. Canned goods such as soups and vegetables are also often high in sodium. Snack on raw fruits instead, and opt for frozen or fresh veggies over canned.
You might have heard that red wine contains resveratrol, a compound with anti-inflammatory properties. However, if you’re taking RA medications, you should limit your alcohol intake. Get your resveratrol from other sources instead, such as red grapes, peanut butter, blueberries and dark chocolate.
By treating your RA from all angles, you have a better chance of living a normal, pain-free life. In addition to adopting an anti-inflammatory diet, visit Spinal Healthcare & Physical Medicine in New Haven for other arthritis treatments that aim to provide immediate as well as long-term pain relief. To learn more, please contact us or call (260) 493-6565 today to set up a free consultation.Leave a reply →