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Rheumatoid Arthritis

Ease Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms With These Anti-Inflammatory Foods

  • Anti-Inflammatory Foods to Try For Rheumatoid Arthritis

    Anti-Inflammatory Foods to Try For Rheumatoid Arthritis

    If you experience chronic pain from rheumatoid arthritis or another autoimmune disease, it may be worth considering the role of diet in your broader treatment plan. Part of the reason for painful symptoms may be inflammation, a protective response by the immune system to any type of bodily injury.

    The relationship between inflammation and pain is well established, so substances that are known to be anti-inflammatory are often suggested for pain treatment. Many pain medications work by reducing inflammation, but foods with anti-inflammatory properties may work in concert with medical treatments to help with pain management. Be sure to discuss any supplements with your physician to ensure they are safe to add to your medication regimen.

    Here, a list of 6 anti-inflammatory foods that you can start eating more of today. 

     

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

    Extra Virgin Olive Oil

    Upgrade your cooking oil to help combat pain. A specific compound found in olive oil may inhibit the activity of cyclooxygenase, an enzyme involved in inflammation and the development of cancer. "Many large studies have also associated it with lower blood pressure and lower body weight," says Christopher Cannon, MD, a cardiologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. To take advantage of olive oil's health benefits, use it in place of standard oil for grilling and sautéing, making marinades and salad dressings, and as a substitute for butter in baked goods. Extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) is a staple of the beneficial Mediterranean diet, which has been shown to improve inflammation.

    Just be sure that the label says "virgin" or "extra-virgin." It's your cue that the oil is from the first olive pressing and has not undergone treatment with heat or chemicals so it retains more healthy compounds.

  • Rooibos Tea

    Rooibos Tea

    Tea made from the rooibos bush native to South Africa is rich in polyphenols, plant-based substances that act as antioxidants, which can protect the body's cells from damage by free radicals, according to research published in the journal Phytomedicine in February 2013. "Many antioxidants are also anti-inflammatory," says Jonny Bowden, PhD, a Los Angeles-based nutritionist and author of The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth. Oolong, white, and green teas also contain high levels of antioxidants and can treat pain, Dr. Bowden adds. The best way to enjoy rooibos tea and its antioxidant-rich cousins is to simply grab a tea bag, a cup of hot water, and brew some soothing chronic pain relief.

     

  • Tempeh

    Tempeh

    Made from fermented soybeans, this food is rich in isoflavones, compounds that may help manage pain and guard against disease. The soy isoflavone called genistein reduced inflammation and pain in mice, according to an Italian study published in January 2011 in the European Journal of Pharmacology. Tempeh has a chewy texture and is rich in protein; use it in place of ground meat in soups, stews, and other dishes.

  • Turmeric

    Turmeric

    This traditional Indian spice, available as an orange-yellow powder, is rich in curcumin, which Bowden calls "one of the most powerful anti-inflammatories on the planet." Research published in June 2011 in the journal Alternative Medicine Review indicates that curcumin may have the potential to relieve inflammatory conditions like Crohn's disease and irritable bowel syndrome and may also provide protection against cancer. You can add curcumin to your pain treatment diet by using turmeric to flavor meats, vegetables, and curries. However, since the spice is often eaten in small amounts, consider asking your doctor about taking a curcumin supplement.

  • Walnuts

    Walnuts

    Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, these soft nuts may lessen inflammation and reduce the risk for stroke and heart disease, according to Dr. Cannon, co-author of The Idiot's Guide to the Anti-Inflammation Diet. A study published in the April 2013 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine followed for 4 years subjects who ate a Mediterranean diet. When compared with a control group that ate a low-fat version of the diet, people who consumed an additional 30 grams of nuts (15 of which were walnuts) experienced a decreased relative risk of heart disease and stroke.

    A quarter-cup of walnuts contains 2.3 grams of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) omega-3s. Research published in February 2008 in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition also points out that walnuts have phytochemicals, which contain anti-inflammatory agents. To get more walnuts in your daily diet, eat them raw as snacks, fold them into muffins or add them to salads and Greek yogurt for extra crunch.

  • Amaranth

    Amaranth

    The highly nutritious amaranth plant is considered a grain, but its legume-like seeds also give it qualities similar to a bean. The seeds contain a substance called lunasin, which has been shown to inhibit the release of pro-inflammation molecules in the body, according to an analysis published in January 2015 in BioMed Research International. For an amaranth boost, use it along with regular flour when making baked goods, pancakes, and homemade pasta. You can also add its leaves to salads.

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  • Last Updated: 12/22/16
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  • Last Updated: 12/22/16