Diet is a severely underappreciated trigger of numerous diseases. While treatment plans often focus on medication and surgery, changing your diet is also critical. That’s especially true with chronic diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. 

In fact, eating fruits and vegetables can have a tremendous impact on disease progression. 

This article will explore the ten foods you should eat and avoid for RA relief. 

Rheumatoid Arthritis

What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

It is a chronic autoimmune disease in which the body’s defenses attack the joints, resulting in inflammation, pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility. Unlike osteoarthritis, RA isn’t caused by gradual wear and tear — it is due to the immune system mistakenly attacking the joint tissues, including the synovial membrane. Flare-ups will continue to harm the joint without careful disease modulation, leading to irreparable damage.

Managing and alleviating symptoms of foot pain is the top priority, and laser treatment for foot pain can be an effective option in treating this condition.

10 Best Foods for this Disease

Looking to soothe the symptoms of an RA flare-up? Incorporating certain foods packed with disease-remedying compounds is a helpful strategy. Try these 10 foods:

1. Olive Oil

It contains healthy fats called polyphenols, which are shown to reduce inflammation and improve joint health. Additionally, it is associated with a reduced risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease and cancer.

2. Citrus Fruits

Rich in vitamin C, citrus fruits, like lemons, oranges, and grapefruits, reduce inflammation and improve joint health. Vitamin C is important for supporting the immune system and promoting wound healing.

3. Berries

Packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, berries are a beneficial addition to a rheumatoid arthritis treatment plan, as they contain numerous ingredients that can alleviate inflammation and protect against cellular damage. Additionally, they are rich in fiber and low in calories, making them an ideal choice for weight management.

4. Carrots

These are a mainstay of hundreds of dishes. Rich in beta-carotene, a potent antioxidant, they’re known to reduce inflammation and boost joint health. In addition, you’ll find a healthy cocktail of fiber, potassium, and vitamin K — all important for bone health. 

5. Ginger

From teas to curries, ginger is found in numerous health recipes. Its beneficial properties come from compounds called gingerols and shogaols. Together, they have anti-inflammatory properties that reduce joint pain and stiffness as well relieving nausea and vomiting. 

6. Whole Grains

Whole grains are recognized as excellent sources of good food — brown rice, quinoa, and whole wheat bread, in particular. These nutritious options are high in fiber and packed with essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B and iron. In addition, whole grains are a valuable addition to your diet by reducing inflammation and promoting overall health.

7. Turmeric

Hardly a day goes by without another health headline related to turmeric. Curcumin, the active ingredient, is a powerful anti-inflammatory, helping to reduce joint pain and stiffness, lower the risk of chronic diseases, and improve brain function. 

8. Green Tea

Like turmeric, green tea contains antioxidants that specifically target inflammatory arthritis. Catechins in green tea disrupt inflammation pathways, offering protection against cellular damage. The overall anti-inflammatory effects are impressive. In one study, a higher intake of green tea was associated with lesser disease activity. 

9. Dark Chocolate/Cocoa

Flavonoids are the secret ingredient in dark chocolate, responsible for lower blood pressure, improving blood flow, reducing inflammation, boosting cognition, and much more. But if you want the highest concentration of flavonoids, try unadulterated cocoa. 

10. Cherry Juice

It isn’t just a delicious beverage. Packed with compounds called anthocyanins, across multiple studies, it’s been shown to reduce inflammation, improve sleep quality, and reduce levels of uric acid (associated with gout).

Foods to Avoid

Dietary advice to relieve rheumatoid arthritis symptoms is as much about what you don’t eat as what you do.  Certain foods can exacerbate or drive inflammation, accelerating the condition. Avoid these foods if you have RA:

Processed and fried foods 

These are high in unhealthy fats and increase inflammation in the body. Examples include fast food, potato chips, and packaged snacks.

Red and processed meat 

Bacon and sausage are high in saturated fat and can fuel inflammation. Instead, try swapping them out for lean proteins like fish and poultry.

Sugar and sugary drinks 

These trigger inflammation and exacerbate joint pain. Try limiting your intake of sweets and sugary beverages like soda and energy drinks.

Alcohol 

Excessive alcohol consumption not only exacerbates joint pain but also contributes to inflammation, making it a significant factor in the development of inflammatory arthritis. It is recommended to limit alcohol intake to no more than one drink per day to reduce the risk and severity of it.

Dairy products

While some people with RA find dairy products worsen their symptoms, others find they can help. Pay attention to your body and work with your healthcare provider to determine if dairy products are right for you.

Nightshade vegetables

Some people with RA find that nightshade vegetables like tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers exacerbate their symptoms. Listen to how you feel after eating these vegetables — talk to your doctor or podiatrist about whether they’re fuelling flare-ups. 

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Foot and Ankle Centers — Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment and Dietary Advice

Living with RA is a challenge for all patients — no one understands that better than Foot and Ankle Centers. Our experienced team of healthcare providers works closely with patients to develop personalized treatment plans for various types of arthritis. We’ll explore options, perform an examination, discuss medications, and refer you to any relevant specialists. 

In addition to providing traditional treatments like medication and physical therapy, we offer dietary advice to help manage RA symptoms. Our team will help you determine which foods to include or to cut from your diet.

Living with rheumatoid arthritis and want to learn more? You can discuss your treatment options with us — schedule an appointment with us today. We’re committed to helping our patients live healthy, active lives, and we look forward to working with you to achieve your goals.