The Pain, Swelling And Stiffness of Rheumatoid Arthritis
How to Treat Arthritis Pain Through Your Diet
Arthritis refers to the inflammation of your joints with symptoms like swelling, redness, decreased mobility and pain. Types of arthritis include the inflammation of the membranes covering your bone ends (rheumatoid arthritis), the destruction of cartilage inside joints (osteoarthritis) and the deposition of uric acid crystals inside joint cavities (gouty arthritis). The most severe form of arthritis is septic arthritis, which is caused by a bacterial infection. Following a healthy diet and lifestyle can be one of the most effective and least expensive ways to reduce arthritis pain, so work on including anti-inflammatory foods, avoiding foods that cause inflammation, and including helpful supplements.
Eating Anti-Inflammatory Foods
Eat more vegetables and fruit.A colorful diet is recommended for people who have arthritis. The carotenoids and flavonoids that give fruit and vegetables their color are powerful antioxidants, which may help to fight inflammation. According to The Arthritis Foundation, you should try to consume roughly nine servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
- Vegetables you should eat include: dried beans and peas, sweet potatoes, red cabbage, pumpkin, squash, carrots, horseradish, and beets.
- Green leafy vegetables like broccoli and spinach provide antioxidants, as well as calcium and vitamins A, C, and K, which help protect your joint cells from damage and keep them strong.
- Fruits you should eat include: blueberries, cherries, raspberries, watermelon, tomatoes, bananas, and oranges.
Include whole non-inflammatory grains daily.People who eat whole grains have lower levels of C-reactive proteins (CRP); these proteins indicate the amount of inflammation in your body. You should try to eat roughly three ounces of whole grains each day. Whole grain foods include:
- Brown rice
- Flax seed meal
Choose fish for protein.Fish contain omega-3 fatty acids, which help to fight inflammation and may help to reduce pain due to arthritis. Include 2 4-ounce servings of fish per week. Some good fish choices include:
Snack on nuts.Research has shown that nuts have powerful anti-inflammatory benefits, so they may be helpful for pain from arthritis. Try including one serving of nuts in your daily diet to reap these benefits. Some good choices include:
- Pine nuts
Drink plenty of water.Staying hydrated can help to keep your joints lubricated, which means that your pain will be reduced. Everyone needs a different amount of water, but average adult women generally need to drink around 2.2 liters (0.6 US gal) of water a day to stay hydrated.
- Adult men generally need to drink around 3 liters (0.8 US gal) of water a day to stay hydrated.
Drink tea.Green, white and oolong teas are full of polyphenols, which are plant-derived compounds that boost your immune system and reduce inflammation. A substance found in green tea (EGCG) might actually stop the progression of arthritis by blocking the Interleukin-1 cel, which is a pro-inflammatory cell that has the ability to damage cartilage.
- You should try to drink two to four cups of tea each day.
Add anti-inflammatory spices to your food.Some spices can decrease inflammation in your body, which can help you manage your arthritis. Try dishes that include turmeric and ginger, both of which reduce inflammation.
- You could also try ginger tea!
Avoiding and Limiting Problem Foods
Eliminate any foods that lead to flare ups.Certain foods may trigger your arthritis pain, while others will not. To determine what foods do and do not trigger arthritis pain, you may want to consider going on an elimination diet. This is when you cut common trigger foods from your diet and then slowly add them back in one at a time to see if your symptoms return or get worse. Common trigger foods to eliminate and reintroduce after a few weeks include:
- Nightshades, such as potatoes, eggplant, peppers, paprika, and tomatoes.
Steer clear of saturated fats and trans fats.Foods that are high in saturated fats and trans fats may also trigger arthritis pain in some people, so you may want to avoid these. These fats are most commonly found in animal products, like cheese, meat, and butter, and in processed foods, like packaged cookies, French fries, and donuts.
Cut back on added sugars.Foods that contain added sugars may also lead to inflammation and an increase in arthritis pain. Check the labels on foods you buy to see if they contain added sugars and try to avoid these foods as much as possible.
- For example, cereals often contain added sugars, so you would be better off avoiding these and having a bowl of plain oatmeal with fresh berries for breakfast instead.
Drink in moderation.Alcohol has inflammatory properties as well, so cut back on the amount of alcohol you consume or avoid it altogether.Drinking a small amount of alcohol may provide some anti-inflammatory benefits, but drinking in excess may make your arthritis pain much worse. Try to limit yourself to 1 drink per day or do not drink at all.
Taking Helpful Supplements
Supplement your diet with omega-3 fish oil.Arthritis is slowed and its severity is lessened when fish oil supplements are added to your diet.Try to consume at least two to three grams of omega-3 fish oil daily.
- You can purchase fish oil at your local pharmacy. If you don’t like taking a spoonful of the oil, you can also take a fish oil supplement that you swallow like a pill.
Meet daily calcium recommendations.Calcium is important for bone and joint strength, both of which are particularly important to keep strong when you have arthritis. The recommended daily intake of calcium is generally 1000 milligrams for average adults.Pregnant and lactating women need 1300 milligrams of calcium daily.Calcium-rich foods include:
- Fortified oatmeal
- Sardines, canned in oil, with edible bones
- Dairy products, if you aren't sensitive to them
- Sesame seeds
Get enough vitamin D.Some people have difficulty absorbing calcium properly because of arthritis medications. Vitamin D is fat-soluble, which means that it helps the body absorb calcium.Vitamin D can be derived from exposure to the sun, eating a balanced diet and from taking supplements. Vitamin D-rich foods include:
- Egg yolks
Take dietary supplements.People with arthritis often develop deficiencies in vitamins C, D, B6, B12, and E levels. They also often become deficient in folic acid, magnesium, zinc, selenium, and calcium levels.Increasing your intake of antioxidants by taking dietary supplements may decrease the damage the arthritis causes to your joint lining, thereby reducing swelling and pain.
- Your physician should be able to tell you which supplements will best meet your particular needs.
Video: 5 Tips for Exercising With Rheumatoid Arthritis
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