How can food help my Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid Arthritis isn’t on full blast all the time, there are periods of flare ups where the inflammation is worse. However, this can be treated with medication, physical and occupational therapy, and food.  Let’s take a look at food as medicine.  There are many illnesses and ailments in which food as medicine can be very beneficial. I’m not saying western medicine is bad, but often there is a healthy balance of both food as medicine and western medicine. For many Rheumatoid Arthritis patients, changing the way they eat has been very beneficial to their symptoms.  Research has shown, that ultra-processed foods have a negative effect on Rheumatoid Arthritis symptoms. These types of foods often initiate flare ups or increase their intensity. Some say nightshades can also have negative effects on RA but others say it’s not a problem. 

Nightshades, potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes, and peppers, contain an alkaloid called solanine. In some individuals, solanine can influence pro-inflammatory responses. This isn’t to say that you should cut out nightshades all together because they do contain valuable nutrients. If you are concerned about nightshades, try cutting them out of your diet for two weeks. If you do this make sure you are replacing the nutrients lost with another food.

Keep a food journal of how you feel during those two weeks and then begin re-introducing them to your diet to see if they are an issue for you.

An anti-inflammatory food plan will be beneficial for people with Rheumatoid Arthritis. This diet looks a bit like the Mediterranean diet which has many health benefits. Foods included in this diet are as follows: fish (high in Omega-3 fatty acids), nuts & seeds, fruits & veggies, olive oil, beans, and whole grains.

Along with being beneficial for Rheumatoid Arthritis, the Mediterranean diet can help with other conditions like lowering blood pressure, protects against chronic conditions, decreases inflammation in the body, and helps with weight loss.

Weight loss can be beneficial in Rheumatoid Arthritis patients because it leads to less pressure on inflamed joints. This helps decrease pain, increase movement, and decrease flare ups. Weight loss doesn’t just have to come from exercise. While exercise is recommended, weight loss can also come from healthier eating habits. 

Here is an example of what an anti-inflammatory meal day looks like;

  • Breakfast: strawberry, mango, banana smoothies
  • AM snack: Mandarin orange & nuts
  • Lunch: Veggie and brown rice bowl with Turmeric Sauce
  • PM snack: Apple with nut butter
  • Dinner: Greek salmon bowl  (salmon, quinoa, string beans, tomatoes, feta cheese, and kalamata olives

Check out this article for more meal plans for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Physical & Occupational Therapy have shown great results with treating Rheumatoid Arthritis through movement,  & pain management techniques, such as the 830 Cold Laser, medical massage, proper ergonomics, posture, & red light therapy. 

If you, or a loved one is suffering from RA we are hoping that some of these tips will bring you relief.