Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is characterized by the body’s immune-inflammatory response, and nutrition plays an important role in reducing the risk of the development of rheumatoid arthritis as well as helping control the symptoms of the disease. Focusing on an anti-inflammatory diet, like the Mediterranean diet, can offer beneficial effects, including reducing inflammation and improving gut flora (microbiome). The gut microbiome has been linked to immune function and inflammation, so it is essential to feed your body the right foods to keep it in balance.
A rheumatologist can help you understand the role of nutrition in rheumatoid arthritis management and could guide you in finding the right diet to promote a healthy living.
Can Nutrition Prevent Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Diet could play a role in triggering RA in people who are already at an increased risk of rheumatoid arthritis such as those with family history of rheumatoid arthritis. Regularly consuming pro-inflammatory foods, especially if you have risk factors for rheumatoid arthritis like family history, smoker, can increase your risk of developing the disease. Other environmental triggers like stress and excessive alcohol use can further increase your risk.
Additionally, maintaining a healthy weight is important for people with RA, as excess weight will put more pressure on the joints. A balanced, anti-inflammatory diet paired with low impact exercise can help you maintain an ideal weight that supports your joint health.
Using Nutrition to Manage & Slow Disease Onset
A healthy anti-inflammatory diet slows down the onset of rheumatoid arthritis if you are at an increased risk of developing the disease. By sticking to anti-inflammatory foods and restricting certain foods from your diet, you can reduce your risk of rheumatoid arthritis or slow the progression of the disease. You can also use nutrition to manage your rheumatoid arthritis symptoms and decrease the frequency of flare-ups.
Which Diets Are Best at Reducing Inflammation & Symptoms?
You should maintain a diet free of pro-inflammatory foods and rich in foods that fight inflammation. A diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods can help reduce the severity of symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis. These foods typically include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fatty fish, nuts, and seeds. Many of these foods also contain Omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce inflammation and promote better joint health. The Mediterranean diet is a perfect example of a diet that emphasizes these beneficial foods. Additionally, antioxidants, found in colorful fruits and vegetables, help protect the body’s cells from damage caused by inflammation. Foods rich in antioxidants, such as berries, leafy greens, and bell peppers, can help reduce oxidative stress associated with rheumatoid arthritis.
Foods that cause inflammation include refined carbohydrates, fried foods, sugary beverages, red meat, margarine, shortening, and lard.
If you’ve been Googling, “rheumatologist near me in Wake County, NC,” visit our team at Empowered Arthritis and Rheumatology Center, PLLC. We can help you assess your diet and determine the changes you need to make to manage your rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. While your diet can have a big impact in managing your symptoms, it cannot replace clinical therapies like medication and other medical treatments. Call us today or contact us online to schedule an initial rheumatology evaluation.