Rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic disease, has no recognized cure, but a combination of diet, medication and exercise has helped many sufferers find relief. Learn about foods that should be avoided if you have this auto-immune disorder and begin a journey to better health.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder in which the body begins attacking itself. Often affecting two or more joints, rheumatoid arthritis can also affect organs of the body in more severe cases. The affected joints may appear swollen, red or tender with morning stiffness and pain.
Get tested for food allergies or irritations, which may be making your arthritis worse. By eliminating foods that "trigger" your inflammation and pain, you'll help improve your quality of life. Common allergens include wheat, corn and peanuts.
Avoid processed foods, which are high in trans-fatty acids and preservatives. Instead, try to eat foods that have been minimally processed. For example, instead of white bread, buy whole-grain bread, or dried fruit-and-nut granola instead of sweetened breakfast cereals. Fatty meats and fish, which may increase inflammation, should be replaced with lean meats, fish and vegetable protein instead. Minimize your consumption of fried foods; instead of using lard or canola oil, switch to cold-pressed olive oil for your cooking needs.
Avoid caffeine, alcohol and drugs like tobacco. Soft drinks and other liquids that are high in sugar should also be avoided. Try herbal teas, fruit juices and water instead. Many medications prescribed for rheumatoid arthritis can damage the liver; alcohol use should therefore be kept to a minimum.
There is no dietary cure for rheumatoid arthritis. However, many people have experienced good results with different kinds of diets and nutritional plans. Vegetarian and vegan diets have helped some rheumatoid arthritis patients. Eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whether or not you are reducing or eliminating meat from your diet, is always a healthful decision. Talk to your doctor and discuss what kind of dietary options may work for you.