Thursday, May 23, 2024

What Foods Are Good For Rheumatoid Arthritis

Green Tea: A Nice Cuppa May Sooth Your Joints

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Green tea has an abundance of catechins that interrupt the expression of inflammation. Its effect on rheumatoid arthritis has been long studied one such study, published in August 2017 in Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, reported that the consumption of green tea offers an overall anti-inflammatory effect. However, most studies have been on small samples. A newer study, published in the March 20, 2020, issue of Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism looked at a real-world, large scale study. Result: A higher intake of green tea was associated with lesser disease activity.

Citrus Fruits’ Vitamin C Is An Important Ingredient In Tissue Repair

Citrus foods, such as oranges, grapefruit, lemon, and limes, are rich in vitamin C. This dietary component is necessary for the synthesis of collagen, which helps build and repair blood vessels, tendons, ligaments, and bone, and is therefore helpful for people with osteoarthritis, Sandon says.

Citrus fruits are also good sources of inflammation-fighting antioxidants, which are helpful for those with rheumatoid arthritis.

So start your day with a glass of orange juice, have half a grapefruit for a snack, and squeeze lime or lemon juice on foods when you’re cooking to take advantage of the healing power of citrus. Aim for a total vitamin C intake of 75 milligrams per day for adult women, and 90 mg per day for adult men, the current U.S. recommended dietary allowance. If you are pregnant, aim for 85 mg and if you are lactating, 120 mg.

How Alcohol Interacts With Ra Medication

Because both alcohol and certain RA medications are hard on the liver, combining the two may put you at twice the risk for liver problems. These common RA medications may become unsafe if you drink alcohol while taking them:

  • Actemra

  • Azulfidine, Sulfazine

  • Otrexup, Rasuvo, Trexall

Some supplements may also interact with the liver and make certain medications unsafe. Because every person is different, it’s important to talk to your doctor about alcohol, supplements, and any other meds you are taking, in case you are putting your liver at risk.

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Berries Apples And Pomegranates

Berries are rich in antioxidants and the Arthritis Foundation notes that blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, cranberries, raspberries and boysenberries all provide arthritis-fighting power. Youll get health benefits no matter if you eat them frozen, fresh or dehydrated , so be sure to eat a variety of berries throughout the week.

Apples are also high in antioxidants and a good source of fiber. Plus, they provide crunch and can help curb your appetite for unhealthy snacks, Dunn says.

Pomegranates, which are classified as berry fruits, are rich in tannins which can fight the inflammation of arthritis. Add these to a salad or stir into plain yogurt for some added benefits.

The Benefits Of Polyphenols Consumption In Rheumatoid Arthritis

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A lot of promising evidence concerns the beneficial anti-oxidative effects of plant polyphenols, contained in fresh fruits, vegetables, and spices, in RA patients. An example of a dietary element rich in polyphenols which may be of benefit in RA is the dried plum. In a study on transgenic mice overexpressing TNF, designed as a RA genetic model, the effects of dried plum on joint destruction were evaluated. Month-long supplementation with DP not only slowed the onset of arthritis, but also reduced joints bone erosions compared to mice on a regular diet. Known beneficial effects of DP components, polyphenols, and neochlorogenic acid at the molecular level include the inhibition of TNF-induced formation of osteoclasts. The favorable effect of DP may also be due to lowering the number of tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase positive cells, responsible for osteoclastogenesis .

Another study focused on polyphenol-rich extra virgin olive oil , providing evidence of the beneficial effects of EVOO and its minor components in immune-inflammatory diseases including not only rheumatoid arthritis, but also systemic lupus erythematosus, sclerosis and inflammatory bowel disease .

In a study on CIA mice, the green tea polyphenol epigallocatechin-3-gallate was found to attenuate arthritis symptoms. At a molecular level, it inhibited osteoclastogenesis and T helper 17 cell activation, and also increased the regulatory T cell number .

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Best Beverages For Arthritis

Theres an old saying you are what you eat. But what you drink can have an enormous effect on your body and health too.

People dont put enough thought into what theyre drinking, says Sonya Angelone, a nutritionist in private practice in the San Francisco area and a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. What you eat and drink is information to your body and if you are drinking well, it can definitely affect how you feel and the messages your body is getting.

Angelone recommends starting every day with a glass of water before you eat any food, since many people wake up a bit dehydrated. She says you want to stick primarily with water the rest of the day too. The typical recommendation is eight glasses a day.

In general, nutritionists advise you to avoid soda since its full of sugar, aspartame and phosphoric acid. The latter negatively affects your bodys ability to absorb calcium.

But what should you be drinking?


Tea is one of the most-studied drinks when it comes to its benefits for arthritis patients. Green, black and white teas are all rich in polyphenols compounds from plants that have strong anti-inflammatory effects.


Research shows coffee also has antioxidant polyphenols. That means coffee can help fight free radicals in the body, which cause cell damage. Other research suggests coffee may have a protective effect against gout as well.






Grapefruit Lemon Lime And Other Citrus Fruits Are Bursting With Antioxidants Which Help Quell Inflammation

The most troubling symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis pain, stiffness, and swelling stem from the same source: inflammation. What to do? Part of the answer may involve your diet.

Findings from a study published in April 2021 in Arthritis Research & Therapy, showed that patients with rheumatoid arthritis had significantly more pro-inflammatory diets, and those individuals with RA who were able to lower diet-associated inflammation between 2011 and 2017 were also able to maintain low disease activity. That particular result was extraordinarily strong and consistent as indicated by more than 3.5 times greater odds of maintaining good control over the disease compared with those who did not adopt a more anti-inflammatory diet, said study coauthor James R. Hébert, MSPH, ScD, Health Sciences Distinguished Professor and director of the Cancer Prevention and Control Program at the University of South Carolina in Columbia.

Even more important, since the study was conducted over a number of years, it shows that the beneficial effect of a low inflammatory diet is long-term. Because such a diet can be extraordinarily diverse and sensually pleasing, it can be very easy to maintain over very long periods of time, added Hébert, via email.

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Dietary Protein Components Potentially Triggering Rheumatoid Arthritis

It has been well documented that Porphyromonas gingivalis bacteria, colonizing the oral cavity, may produce an enzyme that citrullinates proteins, which trigger anti-citrullinated protein antibody production. Tsuda et al. , investigating the role of diet in the pathogenesis of RA, confirmed the presence of cross-reactivity between ACPA obtained from RA patients serum and citrullinated proteins derived from viruses , bacteria , fungi and plants . They concluded that eating foods containing the aforementioned antigens in persons colonized with P. gingivalis may trigger ACPA production, subsequently inducing RA through cross-reactivity reactions with tissue antigens.

Since it has been discovered that plant-derived dietary lectins may be involved in the pathogenesis of some inflammatory diseases, including RA, Gong et al. studied molecular mechanisms behind the lectin-induced inflammatory process. They found that plant lectins can trigger caspase-1 activation and IL-1 secretion via the NLRP3 inflammasome in vivo. Therefore it may be concluded that lectins, present in significant quantities in plant seeds, have a potential of becoming a danger signal activating the NLRP3 inflammasome and thus promoting the inflammatory process .

Foods To Avoid With Ra

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Red meat and dairy

Theyâre our main sources of saturated fats, which can cause inflammation in fat tissue. Other sources include full-fat dairy products, pasta dishes, and grain-based desserts.

Corn oil

The culprit here is omega-6 fatty acids. You want to cut down on them while youâre going for more omega-3s. They can lead to weight gain and joint inflammation if you overdo it. Sunflower, safflower, soy, and vegetable oils are also sources.

Fried food, fast food, and processed foods

Theyâre the major source of trans fats, which are created when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil to extend shelf life. They can trigger inflammation throughout your body. Plus, they raise bad cholesterol and lower the good type.


Not only is too much salt bad for your blood pressure, but if you have RA and take steroids, your body may hold on to it more easily. Aim for less than 1,500 milligrams a day.

It tells your body to release chemicals called cytokines that kick-start the inflammation process. Check food labels for words that end in âose,â like fructose or sucrose.


It doesnât mix well with your RA meds. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and naproxen can cause stomach bleeding and ulcers on their own. Those odds go up when you add alcohol.

If you drink while youâre taking acetaminophen, leflunomide , or methotrexate, it could damage your liver.

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Other Potential Dietary Risk Factors For Developing Rheumatoid Arthritis

In a cross-sectional study involving 1209 adults aged 2030, it was found that participants consuming sugary drinks rich in fructose such as high-fructose corn syrup, sweetened soft drinks, fruit drinks and apple juice at least 5 times a week had a three times higher risk of developing arthritis , irrespective of other dietary factors, plasma glucose levels, physical activity or smoking .

In the case of alcohol, surprisingly, no significant correlation between alcohol consumption and RA was discovered in the Västerbotten Intervention Program cohort, which included 386 RA patients, matched to 1,886 healthy controls. Moreover, in this study no significant relationship between diet, evaluated as dietary groups, macronutrients, the carbohydrate-restricted diet score, the Mediterranean diet score and the healthy diet indicator score, and RA was found. However, the authors allow that the results might have been influenced by low alcohol consumption in the studied group overall and other methodological issues .

How Does Diet Impact Rheumatoid Arthritis

There’s not a heck of a lot of clinical evidence to support the idea that specific foods can help treat RA, but don’t tell that to people with the disease who swear what they eat affects how they feel. In one study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, 25% of RA patients were convinced certain foods made their arthritis symptoms better or worse.

Here are a few ways diet may impact RA:

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What Causes Rheumatoid Arthritis

Even though we know that RA is caused by a malfunction in the immune system that causes the body to attack its own joints, the exact cause of this malfunction is still unknown. However, there are some known risk factors for RA. These include:

  • Genetics. You are more likely to get rheumatoid arthritis at some point in your life if you have a family history of it.
  • Sex. Women tend to get rheumatoid arthritis more than men.
  • Age. Rheumatoid arthritis occurs more often in people who are middle aged or older.
  • Environmental factors. Some researchers theorize that certain exposures like asbestos or silica may trigger rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Lifestyle. Smoking, obesity and poor diet may trigger or worsen rheumatoid arthritis.

Learn What You Can Live With

Top Foods that Fight Rheumatoid Arthritis

Your trigger foods may include some of your favorite things to eat. But that doesnt have to mean theyre completely forbidden. You may find that small servings or every-once-in-a-while treats are fine for you, and can satisfy your cravings. I love dairy products however, I limit it to very small amounts of lactose-free milk, cheese, and yogurt, says Montoya.

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Best Supplements For Ra

We know you know this, but the best source for vitamins and minerals will always be whole food. Still, supplements can give an added boost if you’re deficient in certain nutrients . Some supplements that address common vitamin and mineral deficiencies in RA patients include:

  • Calcium

Two other dietary supplements may help with RA symptoms:

Healthy Eating And Arthritis

Your body works best when you eat a wide range of healthy foods. Most people find that they feel better if they eat a balanced and varied diet to get all the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other nutrients their body needs.

Try to eat a Mediterranean-style diet which includes fish, pulses, nuts, olive oil and plenty of fruit and vegetables. Eating a balanced diet and having an adequate fluid intake can also help provide you with better energy levels, help to maintain your weight, and give you a greater sense of wellbeing, which may improve your symptoms.

Always seek the advice of your doctor or dietitian before changing your diet. You may be restricting your food intake unnecessarily or taking too much of certain products that may have no impact on your condition at all. Some supplements may also interact with your medication.

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What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis Again

Odds are, you know someone with rheumatoid arthritis . It’s the second most-common type of arthritis and affects about 1.3 million people in the United States, 70% of whom are women, according to the Arthritis Foundation. RA primarily strikes at the joints but it can impact other areas of your body, too. And though it usually pops up between the ages 40 and 60, it’s known to occur in children via a condition called juvenile idiopathic arthritis.

Other Dietary Factors Potentially Lowering Rheumatoid Arthritis Activity

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In a survey, 24% of patients reported perceived effects of their diet on RA symptoms 19% observed negative effects of sugary drinks and sweets, while 15% reported beneficial effects of some foods consumption, most often berries or spinach . It might be worthwhile to try to provide some insight through clinical studies of whether perceptions match reality.

Both low-sodium and low-magnesium diets seem to have some anti-inflammatory potential. In a clinical study, Scrivo et al. investigated links between sodium intake and both the frequency and function of T helper 17 and regulatory T cells . The study included RA patients known not to be receiving drugs increasing urinary sodium excretion. They first underwent 3 weeks of a low-sodium dietary regimen and then 2 weeks of a normal-sodium dietary regimen. Patients adherence to regimens was good, as confirmed by urinary sodium excretion analysis. In the RA group, a trend in the Th17 cell frequency reduction on the low-sodium diet and their increase on normal-sodium diet was observed, whereas Treg cells showed the opposite trend. A decrease in TGF and IL-9 serum levels was observed at the endpoint . The authors concluded that a low-sodium dietary intake may lower the inflammatory response in RA patients.

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Does Rheumatoid Arthritis Require A Special Diet

Certainly not! While there may be some anti-inflammatory benefits to keto, Mediterranean, vegan, or gluten free diets, these certainly are not necessary to live a good life with RA. Many of the foods that are anti-inflammatory are healthy choices whether you have RA or not. Likewise, many inflammatory foods are already foods that should be consumed in moderation . So, in many ways, a good diet for RA is not much different from a healthy diet for any other person.

Some patients with RA can experience malnutrition because certain RA medications, like methotrexate, have been known to cause stomach ulcers, making it more difficult to eat. For this reason, vitamin supplements may be an additional element of RA treatment, but this should be discussed with your doctor.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a difficult disease to live with, but by following some of the advice in this article, you can do a small part to take control of your health and live life to the fullest.

Best Spices For Arthritis

Season your food with anti-inflammatory spices

Often when prepping a meal, food is the primary focus and spices are, at best, an afterthought. But when following an anti-inflammatory diet to help reduce the pain and joint inflammation of arthritis, researchers say dont forget about the potential benefits of the spices you use to season your meals.

The more anti-inflammatory foods and spices you eat, the more you are tamping down chronic inflammation, explains board certified sports dietitian Kim Larson, a national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics. I think people are often surprised at what a great anti-inflammatory source spices can be.

When you have arthritis, your joints and sometimes other parts of your body become inflamed, and many spices inhibit certain inflammatory pathways in the body. And although a dash of cinnamon on your oatmeal is somewhat infinitesimal, spices can pack a significant punch when you consume a number of them throughout the day.

If you do a sprinkle of cinnamon in oatmeal or a smoothie, then have some ginger tea mid-morning and something with pepper and garlic for lunch and dinner it can certainly have an additive effect, explains Beth McDonald, a nutritionist at The Center for Health and Healing in the Department of Integrative Medicine at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital in New York City. So with spices experiment with new recipes and try to incorporate a spice with an anti -inflammatory benefit with every meal.

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