The Superfoods You Should Consider for Rheumatoid Arthritis
14th November 2017
blueberriesAdopting a healthier diet rich in certain foods could help to alleviate the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, according to new research. Ginger, blueberries, olive oil and green tea are some of the 'superfoods' that may help to combat the painful and debilitating long-term condition afflicting the joints. Scientists now advise people with the condition to include the foods into their diet as a method of slowing down the progressive disease. There are other foods that should be eaten regularly to possibly have anti-inflammatory properties, such as fruits like dried plums, grapefruit and pomegranates, whole grains, the spice turmeric, and fish oil. They believe the foods aid in reducing joint stiffness and pain by decreasing the inflammatory chemicals produced by the immune system, known as cytokines. These foods also help to lower oxidative stress. This is the body’s ability to counteract or detoxify harmful chemicals. The experts involved in the study also recommended changing from a meat diet to a plant-based one, take probiotics, and quitting smoking and alcohol. Study author Dr Bhawna Gupta, from KIIT University in India, said: “Regular consumption of specific dietary fibres, vegetables, fruits and spices, as well as the elimination of components that cause inflammation and damage, can help patients to manage the effects of rheumatoid arthritis. “Incorporating probiotics into the diet can also reduce the progression and symptoms of this disease. “Patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis should switch from omnivorous diets, drinking alcohol and smoking to Mediterranean, vegan, elemental or elimination diets, as advised by their doctor or dietician.” Different food plans for rheumatoid arthritis have often been touted as being beneficial, such as vegan, seven to 10 days fasting and Mediterranean. However, the team involved in the new study, say their study – only the second overall analysis of diet and food in respect of the condition – gives a detailed current scientific knowledge and only reports dietary interventions and specific foods that demonstrate proven long-term benefits. The study has been published in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition, and the researchers now hope it can be used as a reference for the development of new medicines. Dr Gupta said: “Supporting disease management through food and diet does not pose any harmful side effects and is relatively cheap and easy. “Doctors, physicians and dieticians can use our study to summarise current proven knowledge on the links between certain foods and rheumatoid arthritis. “Knowing the nutritional and medicinal requirements of their patients they can then tailor this information for the betterment of their health.” In Britain alone a staggering 10 million people suffer from arthritis, a name given to a number of conditions that causes pain and swelling to any number of joints around the body. Around 8.5 million of these people have osteoarthritis, the most common form of joint disease. This occurs when the surfaces within your joints have become badly damaged and the joint cannot move as smoothly as before, resulting in pain and stiffness. However, 400,000 people suffer with rheumatoid arthritis. Not as common as osteoarthritis, it is often overlooked and can be forgotten about compared to the former. It is a disease whereby the body’s own immune system attacks the body’s joints. It is a long-term condition that causes pain, swelling and stiffness in the joints. The symptoms primarily occur in the hands, feet and wrists. ‘Flare-ups’ are times when the symptoms become much worse, and unfortunately are sometimes difficult to predict when are likely to happen, but rheumatoid arthritis treatment can help to make life more comfortable. This may involve the use of Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) to ease the symptoms of the condition and slow down its progression, as well as medication to alleviate the pain. This could be painkillers such as paracetamol, and/or prescription-only Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, naproxen or diclofenac.