Rheumatoid arthritis is a painful condition, and unlike popular belief, it does not only happen exclusively to old people. The condition is caused by a joint inflammation, which could lead to debilitating symptoms.
As with most other chronic illnesses, arthritis is best managed in a holistic manner. This means taking care of the therapeutic, medicinal, and dietary aspects of arthritis. Diet, especially, has a huge role to play in the management of the illness. While diet alone cannot cure arthritis, it goes a long way in the control and avoidance of symptoms. Through right diet, even those with the worst symptoms can live a normal an unburdened life.
Food & Nutrition Diet (Meal Plan) for Arthritis
#1 Recommended Breakfast Diet for Arthritis
The key to establishing a good anti-arthritis diet is taking in food that fights the inflammation caused by the illness. Chief among these is the intake of food rich in omega-3 fatty acids. This group includes fish, especially salmon, sardines, tuna, and anchovies. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce the absorption of two proteins responsible for aggravating joint inflammation.
If fish is not an option, frying your breakfast in olive oil is the next best thing.
#2 Recommended Lunch Diet for Arthritis
Try to have at least a bowl of salad with your meal. Vegetables are always good, but ideally your salad (or side dish) should contain some cabbage and some onions. These are food high in sulfur, which contains a compound which helps reduce joint inflammations. These foods also help in lowering the pain levels of existing inflammation. Other high-sulfur foods include asparagus and garlic.
#3 Recommended Dinner Diet for Arthritis
Fish is also a good thing for dinner, but if that again is not an option, try to have some soup. After work or a hard day — bone broth is especially good, since it has a high collagen and glycine content. Glycine, together with proline, are amino acids that help rebuild the tissues and joints. Glucosamine and chondroitin can also be found in broth, and these ingredients might be familiar to those taking arthritis medication since they are sold as supplements. Aside from helping rebuild damaged joint tissue, bone broth is also helpful in reducing any further damage.
#4 Recommended Snack Diet for Arthritis
There are several snack foods rich in omega-3, such as walnuts, chia seeds, and flax seeds. If you’re into fruits, raisins are also a good option.
Beans are also great snack foods, due to their fiber content. Fiber is also helpful in blocking inflammation-blocking proteins. Furthemore, beans are good sources of such minerals as magnesium, zinc, and iron. These help boost the immune system, therefore preventing any further joint damage.
#5 Recommended Drinks for Arthritis
Water keeps the joints lubricated, therefore helping reduce any pain that arthritis gives. If you’re going for something with a bit more of a boost, you can have a fruit shake boosted with flax or chia seeds. This gives you a blast of important immune-boosting micronutrients.
Tea is full of the antioxidant polyphenols, which has been shown to slow down the degradation of the cartilage that lines joints. Tea, especially green tea, also contains compounds called EGCG which help control the body’s production of compounds that ultimately damage the cartilage.
#6 Recommended Herbs for Arthritis
Ginger and turmeric are two very important herbal medicines when it comes to arthritis. Turmeric has powerful anti-inflammatory effects that are essential in reducing the pain related to the condition. Ginger, which can be more easily integrated to your daily diet, also has gingerol compounds which have the same (albeit a bit weaker) effects.
#7 Recommended Fruits for Arthritis
Virtually all types of fruits are good, but papaya and pineapple are among the most useful in reducing inflammation. These fruits contain papain and bromelain respectively, which are both independently studied as pain-relieving compounds. In addition, papaya has been studied to contain compounds which help modulate the immune system, preventing it from doing any harm to its own.
#8 Recommended Vitamins for Arthritis
The best vitamins are those that help reduce the damage that free radicals do to the body, thereby shielding it from their destructive effects. These vitamins include A, C, E, and K.
#9 Recommended Minerals for Arthritis
Various minerals help improve the integrity of bones and joints. These include calcium, which makes joints more durable. Potassium and folic acid are also important, as they help improve your immune system along the way.
#10 Discouraged Food for Arthritis
The foundation of an anti-arthritis diet is watching what you do not eat. Chief among these are dairy and red meat, which contain saturated fats. These fats can cause inflammation in the fat tissues surrounding the joints. Such fats are also included in grain-based food such as pasta.
While omega-3 fatty acids are great for arthritis, their cousin omega-6 fatty acids are the exact opposite. Corn oil is a very common source, and these compounds can lead to joint inflammation and weight gain. Other sources include soy and vegetable oils. Needless to say, foods fried in such oils (especially those from fast foods) should also be avoided.
Another very common ingredient that should be avoided is salt — it not only increases blood pressure, it also helps the body absorb more harmful compounds that can do joint damage. Such compounds include steroids which are part of various medications.
Sugar is another, less-noticed but very important item to avoid. Too much sugar intake can cause the body to release cytokines, which help initiate the inflammatory process. Sugar is very often hidden in various ingredients, so check for anything that ends in “-tose” when you look at store-bought food.
Of course, alcohol should be removed from your diet since it can mix with some arthritis medications and therefore cause unwanted side effects.
Arthritis might be a given for many people, but that does not mean those afflicted with it will have to live with its pain. With the right treatment, one can feel and move just as well as those without this debilitating joint condition.
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