Sunday, September 13, 2009

Diet and Rheumatoid Arthritis

If you type Rheumatoid Arthritis and Diet into Google, you will get 634,000 hits. Can you tell that "we" are always on the lookout for something that will help control our RA? On a personal level, my lifestyle doesn't allow me the luxury of trying the more "radical" diets that some folks subscribe to- gluten free, carb free, vegan, no nightshades, no dairy, etc are some of the diets that RA'ers have and are trying to find some relief.

As I have mentioned before- when it comes to medical information online- I look no further than the Mayo ( www.mayoclinic.com )Clinic. On my google search, they were the 5th to pop up and this is what they have to say about diet and RA:

Rheumatoid arthritis diet: Do certain foods worsen symptoms?
Can certain foods worsen rheumatoid arthritis symptoms?

Answer
from April Chang-Miller, M.D.
Because the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis vary from one day to the next, it may seem reasonable to think that the foods you eat might affect your symptoms. Although there's no definitive evidence that any particular foods have an effect on joint pain or inflammation, some research suggests that oranges and certain fish oils may reduce joint inflammation in some people with rheumatoid arthritis. However, more research is needed to assess this possible benefit.

If you believe a certain food increases your arthritis symptoms, there's no harm in omitting it from your diet to see if it helps. But don't exclude whole food groups or large numbers of foods without consulting a registered dietitian or your doctor.

It's important to eat a balanced diet and maintain a healthy weight if you have rheumatoid arthritis. Excess weight puts increased stress on your weight-bearing joints, increasing joint pain, stiffness and inflammation.


Now- that said- one of the things that I have been investigating is Antioxidants. As far back as August 2002 USA Weekend Magazine was offering up articles on the benefit of antioxidants. Claims for antioxidants range from lowering cholesterol to fighting inflammation to keeping the heart healthy. All of these are good things- and, if in fact it DOES fight inflammation, that would be good for us! When you look at the list of foods (below) offered up by www.dietaryfiberfood.com (the benefits of high fiber foods are too numerous to go into on this post) each of them is a food that are "good for you" to begin with. So, whether or not all of the claims are true- it won't hurt to base my meals around these foods. If nothing else- I am hoping that by focusing on these foods and using less of my plate for other foods- it will restart my metabolism and maybe some of this excess weight will come off- and that WILL benefit my RA immensely.

Antioxidants can be naturally obtained from fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes and also synthesized in human body. Antioxidants are also available in specially formulated supplements. The following fruits are among the foods high in antioxidant activity. The antioxidant content data is adapted from research report published in a scientific journal (find the full citation at the bottom of this page).

Table: List of food sources containing high levels of antioxidant activity.
Antioxidant Food Sources Antioxidant Content/Activity
Blackberry

51.53

Redcurrant

44.86

Raspberry

43.03

Olive (black)

39.99

Strawberry (wild)

28.00

Olive (green)

24.59

Strawberry (cultivated)

22.74

Orange

20.50

Blueberry

18.61

Pineapple

15.73

Plum (red)

12.79

Grape (black)

11.09

Grapefruit (yellow)

10.20

Tangerine

9.60

Clementine

8.88

Cherry

8.10

Kiwi fruit

7.41

Prickly pear

6.97

Peach (yellow)

6.57

Fig

5.82

Melon (cantaloupe)

5.73

Pear

5.00

Apricot

4.02

Apple (red Delicious)

3.84

Grape (white)

3.25

Apple (yellow Golden)

3.23

Loquat

2.70

Banana

2.28

Melon (honeydew)

2.27

Watermelon

1.13


More lists of food sources high in antioxidants :
Fruits, vegetables, nuts
Vegetables
Fruits
Breakfast cereals, whole grains
Cereals grains
Black and green tea, wine, coffee
Dark chocolate and other cocoa products
Antioxidant food rating/content on the above table is based on Ferric reducing-antioxidant power (FRAP) method and unit of measurnment is mmol Fe 2+/kg Fresh weight)

3 comments:

Magda said...

I am with you and Mayo! A well balanced diet rich in antioxidants is most likely the healthiest for anyone, including RA people. The various diets may actually cause more problems in the long run by not providing certain minerals and vitamins needed by other organs in our bodies (our joints are not all of our bodies)!

Jules said...

What you said about causing more problems in the long run is just what scares me about all of the elimination diets Magda. Look at Atkins. The world went nuts over it- then found out that it caused serious long term damage. I also agree that our joints are not all of our bodies. We have to think of the whole machine-not just the non-working parts. LOL

arthritiskitchen said...

This post rings so true to me. I am currently on a quest to add anything and everything into my cooking that may help my rheumatoid arthritis. That said, by eating natural, whole unprocessed foods and cooking with real ingredients we are doing our bodies and health in general a big favor.

Sandra
The Arthritis Kitchen