Recommended Diet for Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients
Adapting a healthy diet is the first strategy that should be implemented by rheumatoid arthritis patients, or anyone who wants to avoid this disease. Unfortunately, the majority of people today consume diets loaded with processed foods, grains, and sugars like fructose.
Studies have shown links between constant consumption of sugar to disease like obesity, and chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s and heart disease. This is because sugar feeds pathogenic microbes and weakens the immune system.
In fact, excessive sugar intake is linked to 76 negative effects to your health, such as increased risk of chronic degenerative diseases and autoimmune diseases (like RA), loss of tissue elasticity and function, and brittle tendons.
It’s crucial that you nourish your body with a wide variety of high-quality, organic, and locally-grown whole vegetables. Apart from being rich in vitamins and minerals, vegetables are effective anti-inflammatories — perfect for rheumatoid arthritis patients. Some of the best choices include:
- Sprouts: these vegetables, which have just sprung from the seeds, are more nutritious compared to their matured counterparts. Sprouts contain high amounts of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and enzymes, and protect your body from free radicals and toxic pollutants. Plus, you can choose from different varieties like sunflower, pea, Brussels, and broccoli sprouts.
- Spinach: this popular leafy green vegetable offers antioxidant support as well as anti-inflammatory benefits. Spinach also has a bounty of minerals like potassium, calcium, zinc, and selenium, and vitamin A.
- Kale: another leafy green, kale does not disappoint when it comes to the health benefits it offers. Kale not only has anti-inflammatory properties, but it also assists in protecting the DNA from further damage and contains a compound that can fight at least five types of cancer.
You can also eat fruits from time to time, but it is recommended to consume them in moderation. Some fruits may be rich in vitamins and minerals, but are also high in fructose, which can spell disaster if consumed excessively.
Apart from fresh and real food, increasing your intake of fermented food is also ideal. It’s been proven that eating 4 to 6 ounces of fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, and natto daily can nourish your gut microbiome, thanks to the vast amounts of good bacteria in these foods. Fermented foods also:
- Contain high amounts of vitamin K2, which help in preventing arterial plaque build-up and heart disease
- Produce B-vitamins
- Improve your immune system, especially in the digestive tract
- Boost your mood and mental health
- Detoxify toxins and heavy metals from the body
- Inhibit obesity and diabetes
- Control dietary fat absorption
Making your own batch of fermented food at home is not as tedious as you think, and does not require expensive gadgets or tools. In fact, some of the items required in making fermented food can already be found in your kitchen:
- Food processor with a shredding disc
- Sharp knives
- Large cutting board and bowl
- Canning jars (wide-mouthed, 32-ounce Mason jars are good)
- Krautpounder (a solid wood tool that resembles a small baseball bat to compress vegetables into the container)
If you want the vegetables to ferment faster and have better quality, you can add a high-quality starter culture into the mix.