Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a condition wherein an individual experiences joint pain, stiffness, and swelling. It is a chronic autoimmune disease caused when the body’s immune system attacks the joints, affecting the body’s other organs, such as the lungs, heart, blood vessels, and eyes.
The exact cause of this condition is unknown, but it is thought to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
There is no medication for RA, but available treatments can help relieve the symptoms and improve the patient’s quality of life. One of them is incorporating a healthy diet. Rheumatologists often advise patients to avoid certain foods that may trigger the symptoms of this condition.
The top foods you should avoid if you have rheumatoid arthritis:
- Red Meat
Red meat is rich in saturated fat and cholesterol, leading to health problems like heart disease, stroke, and obesity. Additionally, red meat contains omega-6 fatty acids, which are pro-inflammatory.
If you still want to enjoy meat without putting your health at risk, focus on leaner cuts of meat, such as chicken or fish. These meats are deficient in saturated fat and cholesterol and contain fewer omega-6 fatty acids. This means they are a healthier option and can help reduce your risk of chronic diseases.
- Sugar and Refined Flour
Simple carbohydrates, such as sugar and refined flour, can cause a spike in your blood sugar levels. Over time, your body will produce cytokines, a protein that increases inflammation, in response to high blood sugar levels.
If you want to reduce inflammation and improve your overall health, reduce the amount of sugar and refined flour you consume. Instead, focus on eating complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, which your body digests slowly and won’t cause your blood sugar levels to spike.
As someone who lives with rheumatoid arthritis, you may wonder if drinking alcohol is off-limits. After all, you’ve heard that moderate alcohol consumption can offer some health benefits, such as a reduced risk of heart disease.
Unfortunately, with RA, alcohol can have the opposite effect. Rheumatologists recommend that people with RA avoid drinking alcohol altogether. This is because drinking alcohol can increase inflammation in your body. In addition, alcohol is a diuretic that causes dehydration and worsens arthritis symptoms.
- Processed Meats
When it comes to chronic inflammation, processed meats are one of the worst offenders. These meats are high in saturated fats and sodium, contributing to inflammation. Rheumatoid arthritis can worsen your symptoms and increase your risk of developing other chronic conditions, such as heart disease.
In addition, processed meats often contain additives and preservatives that can further contribute to inflammation. If you’re struggling with chronic inflammation, it’s best to avoid processed meats as much as possible.
If you have rheumatoid arthritis, there are certain foods that you should avoid to minimize the symptoms. While it may be challenging to eliminate these foods from your diet, doing so can help to improve your overall health and quality of life. You can also consult your local rheumatologist to discuss other treatment options that may be available to you.
Center for Arthritis & Osteoporosis provides the finest treatments and procedures for people experiencing rheumatoid arthritis. Our team of rheumatologists in Lawrenceville will ensure you get the best care possible. Schedule an appointment today!