Over the years, studies have been conducted to identify whether plant-forward diets can help with managing the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Based on many of the published results, the answer to this question is that they can be possibly effective. The basic theory that these studies reveal is that eating more plant-based food and reducing or avoiding the consumption of animal-based food can decrease the severity of RA symptoms. This is due to the decreased intake of saturated fats, which is found in meat, dairy products, etc. Read on to know whether this can be useful for managing RA.
What Are The Different Types Of Plant-Based Diets?
- Vegan Diet: Here, you eat only plant-based foods and avoid consuming all types of animal-based food products.
- Vegetarian Diet: In this diet, you prioritize eating more plant-based food and some animal-based food. This ensures that you are following a balanced plant-forward diet.
How Does A Plant-Based Diet Help Reduce RA Symptoms?
The nutrients in plant-based food help with reducing the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and details about them are explained below.
Anti-Inflammatory Foods: Generally, plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains have high fiber content. So, increasing their intake by eating a plant-based meal can help with lowering the levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) in the blood; CRP levels indicate systemic inflammation.
Gut Healthy Foods: According to new research, the inflammation due to RA can be kept in check by maintaining gut health. The fiber in plant-based food is fodder for a healthy gut microbiome. Listed below are some plant-based foods that are excellent sources of fiber:
- Whole-wheat products
- Black beans
- Green peas
Manage Weight: It is well-known that following a plant-forward diet helps with weight loss. This is because of the lower calorie density of most plant-based foods. Remember that losing weight can help with reducing the symptoms of RA due to the following reasons:
- Extra weight puts added pressure on the joints, which increases the inflammation and pain due to RA.
- Excess fat causes the release of pro-inflammatory chemicals.
- Overweight makes RA remission more difficult.
RA Friendly Plant-Based Foods
Garlic: Garlic contains the compound diallyl disulfide that can help with limiting the effects of pro-inflammatory cytokines.
Walnuts: Walnuts are rich in omega-3 fats that have an anti-inflammatory effect.
Broccoli: Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable that has excellent anti-inflammatory properties because of the phytochemical sulforaphane.
On a final note, it is recommended to consult a physician before following a plant-based diet for managing the symptoms of RA.