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People with rheumatoid arthritis are all too familiar with the pain, stiffness and swelling of joints that are the hallmark symptoms of the autoimmune condition. While there’s no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, your doctor can help you develop a care plan with the goal of relieving, or even stopping, the painful inflammation that can cause mobility troubles during even the most basic tasks.
Before discussing medication or surgery treatment options, your doctor may first recommend an anti-inflammatory diet that can decrease flare-ups and reduce pain. Changes to what you’re eating can also be done in tandem with other treatments to help support your overall care plan.
Diet plays a significant role in your body’s pain management system. Adopting a well-rounded diet of foods that can help with inflammation can give your immune system the support it needs to function at a high level to relieve chronic pain.
Here are the foods you should be paying attention to:
Fresh is best.
When you have the opportunity, buy fresh and organic foods that don’t have any preservatives or additives. Nightshade vegetables like tomatoes, potatoes and eggplants are believed to worsen joint pain. Instead, choose green vegetables like kale, spinach and broccoli that have anti-inflammatory properties.
A lot of people who experience chronic pain have found relief from eating a vegan or vegetarian diet. Dairy, meat and eggs can trigger inflammation. It can be a big adjustment, but also one that can come with big relief.
Find fatty fish.
Salmon, mackerel, sardines and trout that are high in omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects. They’re also a great source of vitamin D, which is associated with reducing the severity of arthritis symptoms. Try to get at least two servings of fatty fish in your diet each week.
Snack on nuts.
Walnuts, pine nuts, pistachios and almonds are packed with inflammation-fighting mono-saturated fat. Instead of highly processed junk foods that can compromise your immune system, substitute nuts if you’re looking for a snack. Not only have studies found that they help with inflammation, they also promote weight loss.
To best understand the positive or negative impact of certain foods on your body, keep a food journal to track what you ate and the outcome it had. Remember to be patient. Your body may take a few weeks to show any changes in symptoms.
If nutrition isn’t enough, Inspira’s physical therapists offer a comprehensive program to address the special needs for those living with arthritis. We are here to help. Schedule an appointment by calling 1-800-INSPIRA.