Rheumatoid Arthritis (or RA) is an autoimmune and chronic inflammatory disorder that can cause serious joint pain and damage throughout your body. The symptoms of RA, which can vary from mild to severe, typically occur on both sides of the body and can include: joint swelling, joint stiffness, joint pain, and loss of joint function.
In the main type of RA – Seropositive RA – the symptoms may also include fever, weight loss, and fatigue. Although less common, some people find that the inflammation isn’t confined to their joints and can experience discomfort in their eyes, salivary glands, kidneys, lungs, heart, nerves, and blood vessels.
As with many autoimmune diseases, early intervention is important and can be very helpful in coming up with a treatment plan. If you suspect that you may have RA, make an appointment with your healthcare practitioner. A series of tests (usually performed by a rheumatologist) will determine whether or not you have this illness.
There is no one particular known cause of RA, but certain characteristics may predispose people to this inflammatory illness. You are more likely to develop RA if you:
Now, most healthcare practitioners will recommend medication (typically in the form of NSAIDS – non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids, and acetaminophen) to people who have received this diagnosis. However, more and more research is being shown to support alternatives to drug therapy for treating RA (whether on their own, or in addition to medication). This is positive news for a wide variety of reasons.
As we’ve discussed before, an anti-inflammatory diet includes lots of omega 3 fatty acids, which can be found in any of the following foods:
Your healthcare practitioner may suggest an omega 3 supplement if he/she feels that you aren’t getting enough through your diet, but we love to top fruits, salads, smoothies, and many other dishes with a sprinkling of nuts and seeds daily at every meal.
Other foods that are known for their anti-inflammatory properties are those that contain antioxidants (like vitamins A, C, and E, as well as the mineral selenium). Foods high in antioxidants are:
Fiber may help reduce some inflammatory responses in the body, so up your intake of fresh fruit, vegetables, and healthy, whole grains.
*Green matcha tea is known to be a powerful antioxidant.
As you can probably imagine, there are many foods that can help reduce the symptoms of RA, and there are just as many that can hinder. These foods are known as “trigger” foods. They actually cause inflammation in the body and therefore increase the physical symptoms that you feel.
If you, or someone you know, has RA and is looking to give your immune system a boost, reach out to me. No one should suffer unnecessarily with this illness, and I would love to help.
Thank you so much for visiting! I hope you have found some valuable information, if so, I’d love to hear about it!
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From our kitchen to yours,
sending you love + gratitude,