There are more than 100 types of arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is one of the most prevalent kinds. RA is an autoimmune disease that primarily attacks synovial tissues in the joints.
Like other autoimmune diseases where the immune system attacks the body’s healthy tissues and organs, in RA it is your immunity that attacks joints, but it can also spread to some organs.
The cure for RA doesn’t exist, but there are numerous management options to keep symptoms at bay. A useful way to manage RA is through a vegan diet, and this article will explain why.
Inflammation is strongly associated with RA, which is why your doctor probably advised you to consume anti-inflammatory foods. A study from the Current Opinion in Rheumatology found that systemic inflammation and autoimmunity in RA start long before joint inflammation.
What’s more, RA-related autoimmunity could be initiated at mucosal site years prior to the onset of symptoms associated with the disease. Inflammation aggravates RA symptoms, but a practical way to manage it is through diet.
A growing body of evidence confirms the strong link between vegan diet and management of inflammatory diseases. While more research on this topic is necessary, scientists theorize that consumption of anti-inflammatory foods also improves the balance of gut microbiota which plays a role in the immune system of an individual.
Diet-induced modification in intestinal flora contributes to the reduction of inflammatory severity and intensity of other symptoms associated with RA, according to the review of studies from the Nutrients.
Science confirmed efficacy of vegan diet for RA
It’s easy to say you should switch to a vegan diet, but is it effective? Since this diet is based on intake of plant-based food rich in much-needed nutrients, it is considered safe and healthy for management of different conditions.
A study whose findings were published in the Rheumatology journal shows vegan diet is truly effective for rheumatoid arthritis patients. Scientists recruited 66 patients with active RA who were randomized to a vegan diet free of gluten (38 participants) and non-vegan diet (28 people). Results showed that participants from vegan group reported improvement in symptoms they experienced.
Based on these findings, researchers concluded the study explaining that dietary modification using vegan diet can be of clinical benefit to RA patients due to a reduction in immunoreactivity to food antigens.
Vegan diet aids weight management
Overweight or obesity is a common problem today, and it can make it more difficult for you to manage your condition. One study found that smoking and being overweight hampers the efficacy of the treatment and patients find it harder to experience relief or improved quality of life.
Excess weight forms greater pressure on your joints. As a result, the intensity of pain increases followed by a limited range of motion.
The Journal of the American College of Nutrition published a study which discovered that people who adhere to vegetarian diets, including vegan, are more likely to lose weight than those who follow conventional diets. Also, plant-based eating patterns are more effective in improving your metabolism and reducing muscle fat.
Vegan diet helps you sleep
Your energy depletes, you can’t focus on your projects at work, and it’s needless to mention your mood suffers too. A group of scientists from Finland discovered that vegan diet has the tremendous potential to improve sleep quality in RA and fibromyalgia patients.
Abundant in nutrients
Your joints, just like every other part of your body, need a wide array of nutrients to stay healthy or manage some condition. A vegan diet is incredibly abundant in nutrients and vitamins for joint pain and RA management.
For example, vitamin B6 found in nuts, lentils, and some fruits and vegetables proved to be highly effective in suppressing pro-inflammatory cytokines in patients with RA. In addition, vitamin K which is primarily found in green leafy vegetables inhibits proliferation of fibroblast-like synoviocytes involved in inflammation.
A vegan diet also delivers an abundance of vitamin C which exhibits analgesic properties thus mitigating pain and improving quality of life, studies show. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds supply the body with antioxidants, minerals, and many other healthy nutrients to stay healthy, manage weight, and battle RA successfully.
Tips to go vegan
Switching to a vegan diet can be challenging for persons who tend to consume unhealthy diet or too much meat. To make a successful transition, you just have to follow a few simple tips and tricks, such as:
- Don’t rush; you can start by consuming more plant-based foods while lowering consumption of other foods
- Prepare vegan alternatives of your favorite meals
- Eat a variety of foods
- Choose high-fiber foods and whole grains to stay full longer
- Stay hydrated throughout the day
- Never go food shopping hungry, to avoid purchasing unhealthy items
- Explore your creativity and cook your meals to improve relations with food
- Understand all the health benefits that come with vegan diet
- Consider vegan diet as an inseparable part of a healthy lifestyle
People with RA experience joint pain, swelling, stiffness, redness, and other symptoms that affect their quality of life. Vegan diet proves to be an excellent RA management option along with other non-surgical treatment approaches from Flexogenix. Remember, healthy lifestyle choices are always important, and they start with a proper diet.
Also, watch video on “Foods That Fight Arthritis Pain I Wish I Knew Earlier”