Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammation of the joints of unknown cause. It is most frequent in middle aged women. It affects the small joints of the hands and feet, and produce inflammation, pain, functional disability, and joint deformation.
People with rheumatoid arthritis also tend to suffer from anemia, stomach ulcers, protein loss, and a certain level of malnutrition. Because of this and because certain foods worsen the disease, an adequate diet is important. These are the potential results of three types of diet.
Omnivorous: Diet based on meat and animal products worsens the disease and aggravates the inflammation of the joints.
Ovolactovegetarian: This type of diet produces a degree of improvement.
Strict vegetarian: Is the best diet in the management of rheumatoid arthritis because of the effects of raw fruits and vegetables in the body.
Rheumatoid Arthiritis patients present an increased index of antibodies to two type of intestinal bacteria: Escherichia coli and Proteus mirabilis. Both of these species proliferate under an omnivorous diet and decrease when the diet is vegetarian or with the consumption of biotic yogurt. This helps explain the fact that rheumatoid arthritis improves with a vegetarian diet.
Food to increase the consumption
Fruits: A diet based on raw fruits and vegetables provides substantial improvement in the process of rheumatoid arthritis, reducing inflammation, pain, and joint deformation.
Legumes: It helps meet the greater protein need in rheumatoid arthritis patients. Combined with grains, they provide high quality proteins. It has been amply demonstrated that a strict vegetarian diet in which legumes play a central role, reduces inflammation and improves the process of rheumatoid arthritis.
Soy: Is particularly beneficial since it is one of the few plant based foods that supplies omega 3 fatty acids, similar to those in fish which act as anti-inflammatories. Tofu, soymilk and other soy derivatives are equally of value.
Vegetables: Vegetables must form the basis of an anti-arthritic diet, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes and eggplant should be used cautiously.
Nuts: Nuts provide polyunsaturated fatty acids that reduce inflammation in arthritis patients in much the same way as fish oil. They are also good source of vitamin E, which is recommended for rheumatoid arthritis, as well as proteins and minerals.
Whole grains: Grains are the foundation of the vegetarian diet recommended for cases of rheumatoid arthritis, together with legumes, vegetables, fruits and nuts.
Black currant: The leaves of this plant, and to a lesser extent, the fruit, halt the inflammatory processes on the joints and are active anti-rheumatics.
Walnut: Walnuts are a vegetable source of linolenic acid, which belongs to the omega-3 group and is similar to that found in fish. Walnut acts as anti-inflammatories in cases of rheumatoid arthritis.
Yogurt: So-called biotic yogurt that contains live lactobacilli has a positive effect on rheumatoid arthritis when combined with a diet of raw plant based foods.
Foods to reduce:
Meat: A wide range of experience proves that a vegetarian diet reduces the inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis, while an omnivorous diet aggravates it. One of the reasons for this is meat’s high levels of arachidonic acid, a fatty acid that the body uses to produce eicosanoids. These substances initiate inflammatory processes.
Pork: Pork has been shown to cause inflammation, possibly because of its high levels of arachidonic acid. Rheumatoid arthritis patients should avoid it completely.
Milk: The activity of IgG and IgA antibodies against alpha-lactoalbumin (a milk protein) is higher in rheumatic arthritis patients. This leads to speculation that milk may be one of the foods responsible for the inflammatory reaction typical of rheumatoid arthritis, lacking definitive research, it seems prudent that those suffering from this disease should avoid milk.
Egg: After meat, eggs are richest in arachidonic acid, the principal precursor of eicosanoids. These substances act as mediators of the inflammatory process that result from rheumatoid arthritis.
Additives: Additives may cause food allergies, which can aggravate the inflammatory reaction of rheumatoid arthritis. It is wise to avoid manufactured products containing additives, such as colouring agents.