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Diet for people with rheumatoid arthritis

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PT health Life – Certain foods help control rheumatoid arthritis symptoms along with medical treatments such as pain relievers, anti-inflammatory drugs and immunosuppressive therapy.

Rheumatoid arthritis can strike anyone at any age. Rheumatoid arthritis is different from osteoarthritis, which is a natural wear and tear of joints over time, while rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the body’s own immune system attacks the joints, causing pain, swelling, stiffness and inflammation.

1. The importance of diet for people with rheumatoid arthritis

Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids are one of the good foods for people with rheumatoid arthritis.

Dietary changes are one way people with rheumatoid arthritis should choose to support their health. Some anti-inflammatory foods help reduce pain and swelling caused by rheumatoid arthritis.

people with rheumatoid arthritis should balance their daily diet and control calories. You should eat steamed or boiled dishes instead of greasy fried foods.

Although diet does not cure rheumatoid arthritis, according to the Arthritis Foundation, choosing a healthy, nutritious diet with the right foods helps control muscle-wrecking inflammation. body, providing the nutrients the body needs and helping maintain a healthy weight .

That’s important because excess weight puts added pressure on painful joints and can make some rheumatoid arthritis medications less effective. Furthermore, body fat produces proteins called cytokines that promote inflammation.

2. Essential nutrients for people with rheumatoid arthriti

Vitamin D : Patients with rheumatoid arthritis face vitamin D deficiency , which leads to many complications such as osteoporosis, infection… Therefore, you should eat foods rich in vitamin D such as eggs, milk, seaweed, cod liver oil…

Omega-3 fatty acids : A natural anti-inflammatory that neutralizes free radicals that cause inflammation and regulates the body’s immune response. This nutrient has been shown to reduce the frequency and intensity of rheumatoid joint pain. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, sardines, herring, tuna, walnuts, olive oil…

Fiber : Consuming fiber has been shown to help reduce systemic inflammation, thereby contributing to preventing the progression of rheumatoid arthritis. Sources of fiber are vegetables (broccoli, spinach, mustard greens…), seeds (flaxseeds, cashews, walnuts…), whole grains (barley, brown rice, corn, potatoes…).

Vitamins A, C, E, K: These are vitamins that have the ability to strongly destroy free radicals that cause inflammation, improving swelling and pain in the joints. These vitamins are found in many vegetables (lettuce, bell peppers, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, spinach…), fruits (dragon fruit, grapefruit, tangerines, pears, apples…).

Antioxidants : Oxidative imbalance in the body is one of the causes of chronic diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis. Meanwhile, antioxidants such as polyphenols, flavonoids, sulforaphane… have a powerful effect in restoring oxidative balance in the body, contributing to calming inflammation. Sources rich in antioxidants such as green leafy vegetables, nuts, whole grains, etc.

People with rheumatoid arthritis should note that maintaining a healthy, nutritious diet with natural foods that are beneficial for the condition is best. If you want or need to supplement vitamins and minerals, you should consult a doctor for advice and instructions to achieve the best results and avoid risks due to incorrect use.

Prebiotics and probiotics : Eating a lot of foods containing prebiotics and probiotics will help stabilize the intestinal flora, increase the body’s resistance, and reduce joint inflammation and swelling. Some foods rich in prebiotics and probiotics include: yogurt, apple cider vinegar, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts.

Calcium : Similar to vitamin D, calcium deficiency is also common in rheumatoid arthritis patients, especially postmenopausal women. This leads to many dangerous complications such as osteoporosis, deformed joints, infections, cardiovascular disease… Foods containing calcium such as milk, seaweed, beans, cereals…

Iron: People with rheumatoid arthritis face iron deficiency, causing widespread inflammation. Iron deficiency causes anemia, hindering the transport of oxygen and anti-inflammatory substances to the damaged area. Supplement iron-rich foods such as seafood (mackerel, sardines, tuna, oysters, shrimp…), beans, and nuts.

3. Foods people with rheumatoid arthritis should eat and avoid

Foods to eat

Olive oil: Oleocanthal, a compound found in extra virgin olive oil, has pain-blocking effects similar to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), such as ibuprofen, making olive oil a Very good oil to use in the diet of people with rheumatoid arthritis.

Citrus fruits: Oranges, grapefruits, and lemons are rich in vitamin C and are also good sources of anti-inflammatory antioxidants, beneficial for people with rheumatoid arthritis. However, citrus may interfere with the body’s ability to process some rheumatoid arthritis medications. Therefore, if you are taking medications that may be affected by citrus, ask your doctor to supplement vitamin C from other sources such as tomatoes, peppers, melons, strawberries, kiwi or potatoes.

If you must avoid taking medication with citrus juice, drink the citrus juice at another time of the day.

Berries: Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries… contain powerful antioxidant compounds, such as proanthocyanin and ellagic acid, which help fight inflammation and reduce cell damage.

Carrots: Vitamin A deficiency in rheumatoid arthritis patients weakens the body’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant abilities. Carrots are able to provide large amounts of beta-carotene (precursor of vitamin A).

Whole grains: Are a better source of fiber and other important nutrients like selenium, potassium, and magnesium than refined grains. In addition, diets rich in whole grains have also been linked to better weight control and reduced pain and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

Ginger: Contains compounds that function similarly to anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin and ibuprofen. Therefore, it is good for people with rheumatoid arthritis.

Garlic: Many studies have demonstrated the positive effects of garlic on rheumatoid arthritis.

Turmeric: Contains curcumin, a natural polyphenol with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Curcumin helps improve joint swelling and morning stiffness in patients.

Fatty fish: Mackerel, tuna, salmon, herring, sardines… are also a rich source of omega-3, very beneficial for people with arthritis thanks to an omega-3 fat with anti-inflammatory properties. , contributing to protecting patients from many complications…

Pineapple: Very rich in vitamin C and the enzyme bromelain which is associated with reducing pain and swelling in both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Green Tea: Green tea is high in catechins that disrupt the activation of inflammatory pathways. Its effects on rheumatoid arthritis have long been studied.

Low-fat dairy products: Low-fat milk provides high-quality protein for rheumatoid arthritis patients. Besides, this is also a rich source of calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, K, helping patients maintain a healthy condition. In addition to low-fat fresh milk, other products such as unsweetened yogurt, Greek yogurt…

Fermented foods: Fermented soybeans, yogurt, kefir… are food sources rich in probiotics, helping to strengthen the immune system and control inflammatory reactions in the body, contributing to ensuring overall health for patients. , while stabilizing swelling and joint pain caused by inflammation.

Foods that should be avoided

Certain foods aggravate rheumatoid arthritis. Therefore, patients need to avoid certain foods including:

Red meat: Beef, buffalo, horse, sheep, goat… are foods that increase the risk of increasing symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Red meat easily causes inflammation, aggravating symptoms of some diseases such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer… Red meat also contains a lot of saturated fat that can cause an inflammatory reaction that causes swelling and pain in the body. joints.

Processed foods: Packaged foods and processed foods contain many additives, sugar and preservatives to help increase shelf life. Therefore, using processed foods often increases the likelihood of causing inflammation, lack of nutrition and is unhealthy for health.

Fried foods: These foods often easily form harmful compounds that cause oxidation and inflammation. A diet rich in fried foods increases the risk of obesity, inflammation as well as a number of other chronic diseases.

Sugar and refined flour: A spike in blood sugar causes the body to produce inflammatory chemicals called cytokines, which worsen rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. These foods also easily cause weight gain and stress on joints. Limit snacks, sugary drinks, bread, pasta made with white flour, and white rice.

Limit salt intake: Too much salt increases the risk of high blood pressure, increases the likelihood of infection and causes inflammation. High sodium intake increases the risk of inflammation, increasing the severity of rheumatoid arthritis.

Food additives: MSG can cause serious inflammatory reactions leading to rheumatoid arthritis and a number of other related diseases. MSG should be replaced with cane sugar or other natural sweeteners.

Gluten: Gluten, a protein found in grains like wheat, rye, and barley, can contribute to inflammation, especially in people with autoimmune disorders like celiac disease or rheumatoid arthritis.

Alcohol: Drinking too much alcohol can cause reactive protein levels in the body to spike, causing inflammation and being detrimental to rheumatoid arthritis.

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