The pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis can range from sharp and excruciating to dull and burning. While sufferers are usually well educated on medications and exercises that can be done to help alleviate pain, many are not as familiar with how diet can be used to control pain as well. The Mediterranean Diet is a meal plan designed to decrease inflammation. In addition, there are foods that have shown to relieve pain. If you have been diagnosed with RA, consider incorporating the following foods into your daily routine.
1. The Mediterranean Diet
Based on the diet that is common in Mediterranean countries, this diet includes a high consumption of olive oil, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and cereals, as well as moderate intake of proteins and minimal amounts of saturated fat. It also incorporates eating fish twice weekly, replacing salt with herbs and spices, limiting alcohol consumption, and replacing butter with healthy fats. Numerous studies have found that following a Mediterranean diet reduces inflammation and pain in RA sufferers. In addition to relieving RA pain, researchers have found that it also lowers the chances of having a heart attack.
2. Cold Water Fish
Cold water fish, such as tuna, halibut, salmon, mackerel, and cod, are an excellent source of omega-3 vitamins. Studies have found that those afflicted with rheumatoid arthritis have reduced joint inflammation, tenderness, and pain, as well as decreased stiffness in the morning with omega-3 fatty acid consumption. They inhibit inflammatory cytokines and prostaglandins before being converted by the body to anti-inflammatory chemicals known as resolving. In addition, researchers have noted that introducing omega-3 fatty acids to cartilage cells decreases their vulnerability to degradation. This means that these fatty acids could potentially act as a armor against the degenerative joint destruction related to rheumatoid arthritis.
3. Organically grown fruits and vegetables
It is important to avoid processed and packaged foods that are often loaded with preservatives. Organic fruits and vegetables include plenty of antioxidants that work to lower the level of chronic inflammation within the body. Blueberries, in particular, are an excellent option because they contain anthocyanins, an antioxidant that fights free radicals in the body that can cause inflammation and pain. In addition, leafy green vegetables, carrots, strawberries, and beets are especially helpful in alleviating painful arthritis symptoms.
4. Foods rich in Vitamin D
Research has found that many patients with RA do not get enough vitamin D. It is important to eat foods rich in Vitamin D because adequate levels of vitamin D can relieve pain, as well as delay the breakdown of cartilage and help keep your bones strong. Vitamin D can be found in many foods, with the highest amounts being in milk, salmon, and eggs.
5. Olive oil
Olive oil, particularly extra virgin, is a healthy fat that has been found to obstruct pro-inflammatory enzymes in the body that result in rheumatoid arthritis pain. It contains a natural compound known as oleic acid, which has demonstrated promising results in stopping the development of inflammation related to rheumatoid arthritis. Oleic coil obstructs the same inflammatory pathways as Motrin, a medication commonly used to fight inflammation and pain. Olive oil can be incorporated into your diet as a substitute for butter or vegetable oil or as a salad dressing. For the highest content of antioxidants, opt for extra virgin olive oil. Keep in mind that the stronger the taste is, the higher the quantity of oleic oil the olive oil usually contains.
Yogurt is an excellent low-fat option for breakfast and snacks that has been proven to assist in lowering inflammation in the body, as well as lessening joint pain. Probiotics contained in yogurt activate a reduction in C-reactive protein, a blood market for inflammation which rises significantly in RA patients. It also acts to inhibit the body’s production of cytokines that trigger the inflammation response within the joints. However, it is important to stay away from yogurts containing artificial sweeteners and coloring, candy and cookie pieces, and sugar. Opt for yogurts that advertise “live active cultures” because they have not been pasteurized, which kills the live bacteria needed to treat arthritis pain.
Although rheumatoid arthritis is not curable, it is possible to manage its symptoms. Choosing to eat the right foods is an essential aspect of controlling inflammation and pain.