A lot of people believe that rheumatoid arthritis only affects older people, but it is in fact also prevalent among people aged twenty to fifty. It can, however, affect people younger or older than the given age range; is more common with women than men. Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the worst types of arthritis - it doesn't stop with joint pain but gradually progresses to joint deformity.
There is no known cure for this disease, but the right rheumatoid arthritis diet and lifestyle, coupled with regular medication and other treatments, could allow people to continue leading normal lifestyles.
What Research Says About Rheumatoid Arthritis and Diet
Research is needed to accurately gauge the effects of diet on rheumatoid arthritis. As symptoms of this disease change in frequency and intensity from one day to another, it is virtually impossible to determine which foods caused which episode. Expert studies, however, have been able to determine that healthy food choices will always benefit individuals of any age afflicted with rheumatoid arthritis.
Today, researchers acknowledge the link between diet and rheumatoid arthritis. Nutritional supplements have been proven to be helpful as well not only for rheumatoid arthritis but other musculoskeletal problems like reactive arthritis, osteoarthritis, and osteoporosis.
Researchers however emphatically warn individuals from believing all the diet claims they hear. The US Department of Food and Drug Administration always request food and drug manufacturers to state if their claims are not sufficiently proven with research - if you see a disclaimer of this type then know that the claims provided are unsubstantiated.
Worse, there are even food products and supplements that are completely fraudulent and only out to con consumers. Such products may also contain harmful ingredients like zinc or alfalfa, both of which have been suspected to have unwanted side effects.
The Makings of the Right Diet for Rheumatoid Arthritis
There is no official recipe for the right diet. You can create your own menu plans just as long as your diet is based on three essential principles: balance, moderation and variety.
A balanced diet contains all the necessary components to ensure that you receive complete nourishment. Intake must always be moderate - eating too much of anything is not good. Lastly, what you eat must vary from time to time because it's easy to lose interest in eating and sticking with your diet if you force yourself to eat the same thing day after day.
Preparing this type of diet isn't easy and especially if you suffer from daily arthritic pain. Consider asking one of your family members or hiring an individual to ensure that your meals are carefully laid out everyday.
Caution In Preparing Your Diet
Special concerns may also dictate necessary changes for your diet. Arthritis can sometimes make you sensitive to certain food groups. Obviously, your meals will therefore avoid including any of those food groups. Depression and other emotional problems caused by arthritis may make you lose your appetite - your meals must therefore be more visually appealing and delicious than usual.
Also, rheumatoid arthritis can make a person suffer from potassium deficiency and sodium retention problems. As such, your meals will have to be particularly rich in potassium to make up for these losses.
Do your best to keep your weight ideal. Obesity has long been discovered to be disadvantageous to people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Besides the right diet, regular exercise can prevent you from gaining weight. Exercises may be done at home or through sports - what's important is to get yourself moving!
What's In, What's Out
Reduce intake of foods rich in cholesterol and fat. You don't have to avoid them completely, but you do need to eat less of them. The same goes for foods that are particularly sweet or salty.
On the other hand, increase intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain products. They reduce the inflammatory response of your joints.
Lessen consumption of alcohol - drinking too much will only make your joint pains worse.
If your diet is deficient in any vitamin or mineral, consider taking supplements to make up for the loss.
Lastly, consider consulting your doctor or nutritionist to determine other special conditions you may have to adhere to for your rheumatoid arthritis diet. Ask, for instance, if there are certain foods that could interact with the medications you're presently taking for your condition.