Fact: Green Tea May Slow Joint Damage
If you’re a fan of this drink, go for it. Though there is not strong scientific evidence for this, green tea is brimming with nutrients that calm inflammation and ease pain. More research is still needed, but some of the antioxidants in green tea may actually slow cartilage destruction. Another one blocks the production of molecules that are known to cause joint damage. Steep your tea bag in hot water for 5 minutes to get the most out of it. If you like, chill it and add a lemon wedge and a spoonful of honey.
What Exactly Is Arthritis
Arthritis, or joint inflammation, describes swelling and tenderness of one or more of the joints. Its main symptoms include joint pain, swelling and stiffness. Arthritis is a general term for a group of over 100 diseases causing inflammation and swelling in and around the joints.
Joint inflammation is a natural response of the body to a disease or injury, but becomes arthritis when the inflammation persists in the absence of joint injury or infection. Arthritis usually worsens with age and may even lead to a loss of joint movement.
There are different types of arthritis such as:
- Warm skin over the joints
- Redness of the skin over the joints
- Reduced range of movement.
Foods High In Unhealthy Fats Are Linked To Inflammation
You may have heard that eating a well-balanced diet could help ease symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis such as joint pain, swelling, and stiffness.
But did you know there are also certain foods you should avoid? These foods can worsen your symptoms, increase the risk of complications, and affect the amount and type of RA medication you need to take.
Research backs up the power of food when it comes to managing your RA. In a study exploring the effects of the Mediterranean diet published in December 2020 in the journal Microorganisms, researchers conclude that certain foods can lessen or increase RA symptoms. This backs up the belief that the right diet can be effective in helping to provide long-term RA relief.
You can use food choices to try to help control RA-related inflammation in your body that can cause pain and swelling in your joints as well as damage to your heart and other organs.
On one hand, you want to increase your intake of healthy anti-inflammatory foods like fish, fruits, nuts, and vegetables. At the same time, you want to avoid foods that promote inflammation when putting together a healthy diet.
Consider how many RA-aggravating foods youre eating and find a healthy balance, says Joan Salge Blake, EdD, RDN, a clinical professor at Boston University’s Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences.
Steer clear of these foods to help reduce inflammation and improve your RA.
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Are Beans Bad For People With Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is a debilitating autoimmune condition that develops when the body’s immune system, which normally protects the body from invading microbes, does not recognize its own cells and attacks them as if they were hostile intruders, causing swelling and pain in the joints. In her New York Times bestselling book, The Paleo Approach, scientist Sarah Ballantyne presents her Paleo Autoimmune Protocol, or Paleo AIP, a relatively strict diet plan supposed to help people with autoimmune conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, to put their condition into remission. Like other Paleo-based dietary regimens, this diet requires avoidance of beans and other legumes because of the anti-nutrients they contain.
Below, we take a look at why Paleo folks believe that legumes such as beans might be bad for people with autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, but also explain why the notion that beans are bad for arthritis sufferers is not accepted by every expert.
These Foods Make Arthritis And Inflammation Worse
In a recent study published in the Arab Journal of Nuclear Science and Applications, scientists investigated whether or not nightshades like potato, tomato, pepper, and eggplant can make swollen and sore joints worse.1
Their research subjects were rats that had already gone through menopause, meaning that they had low levels of circulating estrogen.
All the rats also had rheumatoid arthritis an autoimmune condition where the immune system attacks the joints, making them inflamed and tender.
Stiff joints can be an early sign of nightshade sensitivity. If youre avoiding nightshades, try a warming herb like wasabi instead, found in Body Ecologys LivAmend and known to cleanse the liver.
In the study, a diet that contained large amounts of green potatoes which are particularly rich in toxins increased swelling and pain in the joints. The study concluded that it is essential to eliminate or avoid the nightshade plants to alleviate the joint pain and also decrease the destruction of the tissues.
This is not the first time that nightshades have been held responsible for joint pain.
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Advanced Glycation End Products
AGEs are inflammatory compounds that can accumulate in tissues, particularly as someone ages. An article in Patient Education explains that people with diseases such as diabetes and RA often have increased AGE levels. So, reducing AGE levels may help reduce inflammation.
Fat and sugar both increase AGE levels in the body. Some food processing methods and high temperature cooking also increase the AGE levels in food.
Foods High In Purines
For people who have gout, a doctor may advise a low purine diet combined with the medication.
Purines are substances in foods that the body converts to uric acid. Uric acid can build up in the bloodstream, causing a gout attack. According to the , the following foods are high in purines:
- red meat
What a person eats can help:
Usually, inflammation protects the body from harm by helping defend against bacteria and aiding wound healing. However, when inflammation persists for an extended period, chronic symptoms can develop.
What a person eats has an impact on inflammation levels. Some foods are inflammatory, and others are anti-inflammatory.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, numerous studies show that anti-inflammatory foods can reduce arthritis pain and progression.
A persons body weight also influences inflammation levels. Fat cells produce cytokines, which are immune cells that increase inflammation.A person can use diet to maintain a moderate weight, which may help with inflammation and also reduce pressure on the joints.
Finally, some types of arthritis have specific trigger foods. For example, foods that are high in purines
Consuming the following foods may benefit people with arthritis.
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Foods That Are Bad For Arthritis
Arthritis is a painful condition that causes swelling of the joints. There are several different types of arthritis, such as reactive arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, though all forms are painful. According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, over 20 million Americans suffer from osteoarthritis and 2 million have rheumatoid arthritis. Since arthritis affects so many people, finding a cure is very important. There is currently no cure for arthritis, but avoiding certain harmful foods may help decrease the pain and inflammation associated with it.
The Scoop On Supplements
Supplements abound when it comes to arthritis. But only glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate have some evidence to support their use. Glucosamine with chondroitin may decrease pain in people with moderate to severe osteoarthritis of the knee.
Note that osteoarthritis is the only type of arthritis that may benefit from these supplements. They do not help people with rheumatoid arthritis.
In general, glucosamine and chondroitin have minimal side effects. Steer clear of glucosamine if you are allergic to shellfish, or consider only glucosamine derived from a vegetable source. Glucosamine may raise blood sugar. Chondroitin can interact with anticoagulant and antiplatelet drugs such as warfarin and aspirin that can increase the risk of bleeding.
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Are Mushrooms Good For Arthritis
Mushrooms are good for arthritis patients as they are rich in nutrients and they retard inflammation. They are the richest vegetarian source of vitamin D, which is important in maintaining healthy bones, muscles, and immunity. Other foods which are good for arthritis are:
- Fatty fish like sardines, salmon, and fresh tuna
- Unsweetened cocoa
Question: Does what I eat have an effect on my rheumatoid arthritis? I heard about an anti-inflammatory diet that includes eating salmon and dark chocolate and drinking green tea. I currently take medication for my RA, but it cant hurt to try this anti-inflammatory diet, right? Santa Barbara, CA
Answer: Youre right: What you eat may have a mild effect on your rheumatoid arthritis . Some foodsas part of the anti-inflammatory dietmay have an anti-inflammatory effect, which means that they may reduce inflammation levels in your body.The goal of an anti-inflammatory diet is to reduce the overall inflammation in your body. Photo Source: 123RF.com.Inflammation in your body can cause swollen, stiff, and/or tender jointsclassic RA symptoms.
The difference between this so-called diet and other diets is that the goal isnt necessarily weight lossalthough anti-inflammatory foods do encourage weight loss. Rather, the goal of an anti-inflammatory diet is to reduce the overall inflammation in your body.
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Sugar And Refined Flour
Your blood sugar levels can surge after you’ve eaten simple carbohydrates that are easily broken down by the body. Such foods include sugary snacks and drinks, white-flour bread and pasta, and white rice. A spike in your blood sugar prompts the body to produce pro-inflammatory chemicals called cytokines, which can worsen your RA symptoms if the inflammation affects your joints. These foods can also cause you to put on the pounds, stressing your joints. There is no real replacement for these foods, but you can try gluten-free alternatives, which can be helpful, says Domingues.
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Foods For A Healthier Gut And Less Arthritis Pain
Research suggests that arthritis inflammation and pain are connected to problems in the gut microbiome. People can cultivate healthier gut microbiomes through their diets by:
- Eating a healthy, whole foods diet. A healthy gut depends on eating whole foods, including lots of vegetablesespecially leafy greensas well as fruits and whole grains. Healthy whole foods help beneficial bacteria thrive and starve out bad bacteria. Probiotics and prebiotics may help, too, especially when antibiotics are taken.1,2
- Avoiding foods that trigger inflammation. Foods typical of the Western diet, such as processed or sugary foods, trigger inflammation. Even seemingly healthy foods, such as eggs and milk, can trigger inflammation in some people.
What The Research Says About Nightshade Vegetables And Arthritis
According to the Arthritis Foundation, the belief that eating nightshade vegetables worsens arthritis is a myth. They claim people with arthritis may benefit from the high nutrition content in nightshades.
For example, researchers in one 2011 study found that inflammation and DNA damage was reduced in healthy men who ate yellow or purple potatoes, which are nightshade vegetables, for six weeks.
However, more research is needed. To date, theres little scientific research to draw a conclusion either way.
Most nightshade vegetables contain an abundance of nutrients. Theyre also readily-available and easy-to-prepare. In some cases, the benefits of eating nightshade vegetables may outweigh any inflammation risk.
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Cakes Cookies And Other Sweets
Given that both sugar and saturated fats are inflammatory foods, traditional treats are something those with arthritis should steer clear of. Fortunately, there are many ways to satisfy your sweet tooth, whether that be swapping out sugar for a natural alternative and/or swapping out butter and cream for low-fat yogurt or avocado. Here are some great low-sugar desserts to try.
Deadly Inflammation Causing Foods Fatal For Inflammatory Arthritis
Arthritis is a painful condition that involves inflammation, swelling and joint pain. Although there is not strict diet for arthritis, excluding certain foods from the diet can help in reducing the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and calming the excruciating pain.
Sugar and Refined Carbohydrates
It is difficult to resist the temptation of desserts, chocolate bars, pastries, soda and other sweet treats but sugar and refined carbohydrates must be eliminated from a rheumatoid arthritis patients diet because processed sugars trigger inflammation in the body by increasing the release of cytokines the inflammatory messengers.
Fruit juices, canned fruits and other sweets are loaded with fructose and sucrose which are poisons by themselves. Refined carbs such as white flour, white rice and sugar) are also called pro-inflammatory carbs. Such carbs are not used as energy rather they are stored as inflammatory saturated fats in the body which triggers inflammation and cause heart disease.
Salt and Preservatives
Excessive salt in food and added table salt in food is one of the main causes of inflammation. Processed foods and ready to eat meals contain high levels of sodium and preservatives to increase their shelf life. Regular consumption of these foods results in the inflammation of joints.
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Is Boiled Eggs Good For Arthritis
The inner membrane of eggs, which lies between the shell and the actual hard-boiled egg, has been shown to dramatically reduce joint pain, stiffness, and inflammation. Egg membranes contain high levels of collagen, glucosamine and beneficial amino acids that help promote all-around health, especially for your joints.
Is There A Link Between Nightshade Vegetables And Inflammation
Some people feel that eating foods from the nightshade family, also known as solanaceous vegetables, may make their arthritis worse. But research has shown that there is no link between inflammation and solanaceous vegetables.
Examples of nightshade vegetables include:
Its possible to have food allergies that are linked to the nightshade family, so if youre concerned about this, we recommend you speak to a healthcare professional.
Fruits and vegetables are packed with important vitamins and minerals that you need for a balanced diet. So, if you’re considering cutting them out, you should speak to a healthcare professional first.
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What About The Mediterranean Diet
As well as helping to reduce the pain associated with osteoarthritis, eating a Mediterranean-style diet offers many other health benefits, including weight loss.
Following a Mediterranean diet may also reduce the risk of:
When someone is living with osteoarthritis, their body is in an inflammatory state.
While foods with anti-inflammatory properties may reduce symptoms, some foods contain substances that actively contribute to this inflammation. It is best to avoid or restrict these dietary choices.
The types of food to avoid are those that include the following:
Myth: The Right Diet Cures Ra
If a diet claims it can knock out your condition forever, beware. Some meal plans may help with symptoms like achy joints and morning stiffness, but it isn’t going to make your disease go away. A shift in your eating habits works best when it’s part of an overall treatment strategy that you work out with your doctor.
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Fact: Fiber Is Your Friend
Feel free to dig into foods with plenty of this stuff. It’s a good way to help you fight back against RA. Studies show it can lower your levels of a chemical called C-reactive protein , which is a sign of inflammation. So how much do you need? Fill a quarter of your plate with whole grains and half your plate with fruits and veggies at each meal.
Add More Peppers To Your Meals
Another vegetable that you want to focus on is the pepper, and Im not just talking about the bell peppers. Any type of pepper will offer you some anti-inflammatory benefits that will definitely help to reduce the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
Lets start with the bell peppers though, since they tend to be the most popular. These colorful vegetables are full of antioxidants while being low in starch. The antioxidants are known for protecting the cells and fighting off free radicals. While we tend to associate free radicals with the likes of cancer and dementia, they are also linked to inflammation within the body. Get rid of them, and you lower the chance of inflammation occurring!
As for hot peppers such as cayenne and chili, they are full of capsaicin. This is a chemical that scientists have proven a help to reduce inflammation, as well as the pain that you feel. In fact, the chemical is usually added to the majority of anti-inflammatory creams to help get directly to the source. You can get it in your body through eating the pepper or crush it into your own homemade creams to get the benefits.
Its worth noting that there are other foods that can cause inflammation within the body and well touch on this lightly at the end.
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Myth: Apple Cider Vinegar Cuts Pain
It’s a popular home remedy for achy joints, but don’t follow the crowd on this one. Despite claims that a nutrient called beta-carotene can fight RA, there’s no proof it does. And even if that ingredient were useful, there’s only a tiny amount in apple cider vinegar. You’re better off using the stuff to dress your salad.
As Theres So Much Health Information Available It Can Be Hard To Know What To Believe
Here are a few tips that might help you:
- Read beyond the headline – remember that headlines are often written to drive clicks and grab a readers attention. As a result, health information is often simplified or written in an alarming way.
- Consider the evidence – are the claims backed up by research data?
- Use a fact-check website, for example, Full Fact.
If you have any questions about what foods to eat or avoid, speak to your healthcare professional.
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