These Foods are Bad for Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that can cause chronic inflammation of the joints. In serious cases, it can lead to permanent joint destruction and deformity. Generally, rheumatoid arthritis is not aggravated by foods we eat and there is no special diet “cure” for rheumatoid arthritis. Nevertheless, some studies indicate that certain foods exacerbate the painful symptoms of arthritis. This controversy may confuse us, but we need to see carefully the reason behind the statement.

red meat bad for arthrtitsMany arthritic symptoms are triggered by allergies. Repeated exposure to the allergens can decrease antioxidant levels, causing antibodies to become activated, and attack joint tissue. Thus, the goal of avoiding certain foods is to reduce exposure to allergens, improve digestion and thereby improve overall health and reduce the risk of inflammation.

Human being is a complex organism and that we are each different.  Anecdotally, a person may notice worsening of symptoms after consuming certain foods.  In this case, avoiding or limiting these foods may, indeed, benefit the person.

Though there is no miraculous rheumatoid arthritis diet, you can have less discomfort if you choose carefully what you eat. Here is a list of foods that RA patients could consider either avoiding completely or limiting the consumption.

  1. Red Meat. A Swedish study found that a vegan diet, which is free of all animal products including all meat, fish, milk, and eggs, reduced a compound that causes the inflammatory symptoms typical of rheumatoid arthritis. Animal based foods are inflammatory due to their high saturated fat, which in turn, can cause muscle and joint pain. Red meat is considered as the most common triggering factor.
  2. High fat, high calorie foods. These foods may not directly affect the development of rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, but they can trigger excess weight that put more pressure on the affected joints, causing further breakdown of the cartilage and bone tissue.
  3. Snack foods. Snack foods are full of trans fatty acids, which is a proven irritant of Rheumatoid Arthritis.
  4. Nightshade vegetables. That term refers to plants that grow in shady areas or that flower at night. Nightshade vegetables include potatoes, peppers, eggplant and tomatoes. These plants contain alkaloids, which can cause pain and swelling.
  5. Tobacco. Though tobacco is not a food, it can be classified into nightshade plant. Smoking is not good for people who have degenerative arthritis condition.
  6. Gluten. It can be found in grains such as wheat, barley and rye. Many people who suffer from autoimmune disorders are allergic or intolerant to gluten. Gluten may worsen arthritis by triggering the inflammatory response of the immune system. Gluten is hidden in most processed foods and sauces so to avoid gluten one must do much more than avoid flour.
  7. CaffeineActually there is lingering uncertainty about how coffee affects rheumatoid arthritis. Many studies showed conflicting results, not leading to a firm conclusion. However, it is better to limit the caffeine intake while the research is still ongoing.
  8. Refined sugar and sweetsThe body’s ability to break down the sweet may decrease due to chronic inflammation in RA. That is why controlling sugar intake is vital for RA patients. Otherwise, they may increase the risk of developing other diseases.

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