A familiar question we mostly ask……Does what I eat have an effect on my rheumatoid arthritis?
Answer: You’re right: What you eat may have some effect on your Arthritis. Some foods—as part of the anti-inflammatory diet—may have an anti-inflammatory effect, which means that they may reduce inflammation levels in your body.
Good news: Over the years research suggests that switching up the kinds of food you eat may help you manage arthritis symptoms. Researchers continue to look at the role diet plays in arthritis. While evidence is accumulating, anyone with arthritis can benefit from a diet that provides adequate macro nutrients and micro-nutrients to prevent deficiencies.
A good rule of thumb: Maximize nutrients and minimize extra calories by choosing nutrient-rich foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein and lower-fat dairy products.
You will probably find that everyone wants to give you advice on what to eat and what not to eat. Remember that everyone reacts differently to specific foods and that you have to work out for yourself what suits you best. Every individual body composition is different.
Most of us Arthritic Warriors have a common problem that is carrying excess weight. Certain drugs, such as steroids, can lead to weight gain, and others, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), can lead to stomach problems, making dietary choices harder. Some people may find that being unable to exercise or prepare fresh food means that they put on weight easily. Others get trapped in a similar cycle during a flare-up, but one in which they are too tired to eat and consequently lose weight, becoming even more exhausted. So, eating a balanced diet is key to maintaining a healthy weight and managing arthritis.
RA Warriors often inquire about dietary interventions to improve RA symptoms, as they perceive rapid changes in their symptoms after consumption of certain foods. There is evidence that some ingredients have pro- or anti-inflammatory effects. In addition, recent literature has shown a link between diet and microbiome changes. Both diet and the gut microbiome are linked to circulating metabolites that may modulate inflammation.
My story …my food journey;
Food is medicine. You are what you eat! We have all heard it before, but what does it mean? You can’t really expect to treat chronic conditions like arthritis with food but you can, however, make food choices that help fight inflammation, the main characteristic of arthritis. I strongly believe that the right foods also help boost our immune system and strengthen our bones to alleviate the painful symptoms of this chronic disease.
Finding my triggers gave me some sort of control on my flare ups and some power to take my health into my own hands. That’s only possible because I took the time to listen to my body and optimize my environment for it. it’s a way I use to decode the triggers in my environment that influence how I feel.
I have come to the conclusion that when it comes to inflammation and autoimmune issues, you really need to understand your own body and you can’t just follow a one size fits all diet. As mentioned earlier in my posts I have mentioned I had undergone various food intolerance tests and other modalities and now rigidly avoid the foods which trigger my flareups.
I try to eat a well-balanced diet to get all the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other nutrients that my body needs..Also..
Include a variety of fruit and vegetables, protein foods, dairy, nuts, pulses, cereals and grains. This helps me to maintain relatively general good health and a healthy weight
Include plenty of omega-3 fatty acids in my diet, such as oily fish, walnuts or foods that are fortified with omega-3s (for example, organic eggs or home made ghee)
Drink plenty of infused herbal decoctions through the day
Keep a food diary – if I think a particular food may aggravate my condition, I note it downand it helps me to keep a diary of my food intake and symptoms. After a month, I have some idea about which food could be provoking symptoms.
We need to be aware – the symptoms of arthritis, particularly the inflammatory types, can change for no apparent reason. Don’t assume any improvement in your symptoms is due to what you eat or changes in your diet. Be guided by your health professional too. There has to be a balance of both.
Finally my gut feel is that supporting disease management through food and diet does not pose any harmful side effects and is relatively cheap and easy, but always seek advice – if you need help, talk with your doctor or a dietitian. There’s a lot of conflicting information online and in the media about arthritis and diet. If you need some guidance, talk with a professional..don’t just sit on it …work on it!