Five warning signs of rheumatoid arthritis
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Rheumatoid arthritis is a long-term condition that causes pain, swelling and stiffness in the joints. There may be periods where symptoms become worse, known as flare-ups or flares. The foods you eat can make flare-ups more likely and more severe.
That’s because “foods stimulate the immune system and the inflammatory process, worsening the pain, stiffness and other health complications associated with rheumatoid arthritis,” explains the Rheumatoid Arthritis Support Network (RASN).
Foods like white bread, white rice, pasta, and cereals may trigger an inflammatory response because they are made with white flour.
As the RASN explains, refined carbohydrates such as white flour stimulate inflammatory responses and should be avoided in a rheumatoid arthritis diet.
Refined carbohydrates, or refined carbs, are grain products that have been stripped of all goodness during the manufacturing process.
Instead, you should opt for better alternatives such corn and brown rice flour, advises RASN.
Foods to eat
Certain dietary components have been shown to counter the harmful effects of inflammation.
Oily fish such as sardines, mackerel, herring and salmon are some of the best examples.
This is because they have been shown to help dampen general inflammation and may help to reduce joint pain and stiffness, explains the British Dietetic Association (BDA).
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“Try to eat two portions (one portion = 140g or a small fillet) of oily fish a week,” advises the BDA.
To make sure you are getting enough, you should follow a Mediterranean-style diet.
In general, a Mediterranean-style diet is high in vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, beans, cereals, grains, fish, and unsaturated fats such as olive oil.
In fact, studies confirm that eating foods commonly part of a Mediterranean diet can curb inflammation.
Nuts are another component of a Mediterranean-style diet that can counter inflammation.
One study found that over a 15-year period, men and women who consumed the most nuts had a 51 percent lower risk of dying from an inflammatory disease compared with those who ate the fewest nuts.
Another study found that subjects with lower levels of vitamin B6 – found in most nuts – had higher levels of inflammatory markers.
It is important to eat well because a healthy diet can help you to maintain a healthy weight.
Maintaining a healthy weight can help to alleviate arthritis by easing pressure on the joints, explains the NHS.
Exercise can also help you lose weight if you’re overweight and physical activity confers direct benefits for arthritis management.
The NHS explains: “Exercising regularly can help relieve stress, help keep your joints mobile, and strengthen the muscles supporting your joints.”
“If a particular activity always causes a flare-up, it’s best to avoid it and find an alternative.”
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