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Good Nutrition and Rheumatoid Arthritis

written by: Cherrineb • edited by: Rhonda Callow • updated: 12/2/2009

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease of the joints which occurs when the body's immune system attacks the synovium (the thin membrane that lines the joints). The inflammation may be controlled with a rheumatoid arthritis diet as part of good diet and nutrition.

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    Antioxidants

    A rheumatoid arthritis diet should include antioxidants (nutrients in our foods which can help minimize cell damage in the body) which may help with managing inflammation. Common antioxidants include vitamin A such as carrots and squash, vitamin C such as oranges and green leafy vegetables, vitamin E found in liver oil and vegetable oil, and selenium found in chicken and red meat.

    For example, you may prepare skinless baked chicken with brown rice mixed with carrots and squash. Place a slice of orange on top of the prepared dish to add a tangy flavor. Another dish is adding a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large saucepan and add a lean piece of flank steak over medium heat. Add 1/2 cup of broccoli and cook until tender. Add herbs or seasonings, like black pepper, and serve hot.

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    Anti-Inflammatory Foods

    Inflammation is one of the primary factors in rheumatoid arthritis in addition to pain, redness, and the swelling of joints. Some foods found to help reduce inflammation are apples, garlic, ginger, and turmeric. A medium sized apple contains about 80 calories with natural sugar and fiber so it may be enjoyed as a daily snack. Garlic can be added to salads, soups, and stews.

    Ginger can be found in recipes for Asian cooking, beverages, and breads. For instance, enjoy a cup of ginger tea with a slice of ginger bread. Turmeric is a seasoning which can be found year round. It is commonly found in East Indian cooking and goes well with beans, chicken, and curry dishes.

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    Dietary Fats

    Omega-3 fats can be found in fatty fishes such as salmon, sardines, and tuna with a recommended consumption of 3-4 grams per day. A good recipe is a tuna sandwich using low-fat mayonnaise on whole-wheat bread with chopped garlic along with an 8 ounce glass of water which keeps the joints limber.

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    Elimination Diet and Rheumatoid Arthritis

    There is no specific rheumatoid arthritis diet and some patients find relief with a food elimination diet. This diet removes common food sensitivities from the diet for a particular time frame and reintroduces each food one at a time to determine if a true food allergy/sensitivity is found. Some common food sensitivities are dairy products such as milk, gluten products such as barley, and nuts such as peanuts.

    An elimination diet should be monitored by a qualified health professional such as primary care physician or registered dietician who can guide the patient on the best food diaries and the best time frames for using the diet.

    Sources: http://www.healthcastle.com/arthritis_diet.shtml

    http://www.everydayhealth.com/rheumatoid-arthritis/rheumatoid-arthritis-and-diet.aspx

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