Can Rheumatoid Arthritis Be Managed Using Plant-Based Diets?

Plant-Based Milk
Plant-Based Milk
Plant-Based Diet
Plant-Based Diet

A lot of research has been conducted to discover the possibility of controlling the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis better with a plant-based diet. The results indicate the possibility of following a well-planned plant-based diet to handle your RA better.

Vegan diets are especially useful for controlling RA symptoms and the complete exemption of animal foods in the diet is not exactly the reason for this. Vegans generally eat more healthy foods than many non-vegans. It is important to note that all vegan diets need not necessarily help control RA. Take for instance a vegan diet that includes so many foods higher in saturated fats. These foods are only going to trigger inflammation and not control it.

Plant-Based, Vegan, And Vegetarian Diet : The Difference

Although we say vegan and vegetarian diets are plant-based, a plant-based diet is a separate diet like vegan and vegetarian diets.

Plant-based diet: Plant-based diet focuses more on plant foods, all the while including animal foods in limited amounts.

Vegetarian diet: Vegetarian diet does not include any foods that are obtained by killing animals. Vegetarians avoid meat, fish, and poultry. Some vegetarians also avoid foods like dairy and egg even though no animals are killed for obtaining the foods.

Vegan diet: Vegan diet does not include any animal or animal-derived foods. Vegans do not eat fish, meat, eggs, poultry, dairy, and honey.

Why Going Plant-Based Diet Is Good To Handle RA?

There are few theories backed by scientific evidence explaining how plant-based foods can be effective in controlling RA symptoms.

The Diet Includes Many Inflammation-Fighting Foods 

A healthy plant-based diet will contain a lot of fruits, whole grains, and vegetables that contain nutrients, which will help fight RA pain symptoms. One study found that following a low-fat vegan diet for four consecutive weeks improved the joint pain, swelling, and stiffness associated with RA.

The Diet Can Improve Gut Health 

According to recent research, better gut health can help keep inflammation levels in check. Your gut will naturally have various types of beneficial bacteria that would be lacking in people with RA. Plant foods are rich in fiber that can help improve gut health. Some of the rich sources of fiber include:

  • Green peas ‘raspberries
  • Barley
  • Lentils
  • Black beans
  • Whole wheat spaghetti

It Can Help In Weight Loss 

Following a healthy plant-based diet can help you lose weight even if you are not much into working out. A vegan or vegetarian diet is more effective for weight loss when compared with a plant-based diet.

Here are the reasons why weight loss is effective in managing RA symptoms:

  • Excess fats release inflammation-causing chemicals
  • It is tougher to get your RA into remission if you are overweight
  • Excess body weight put extra pressure on your joints, leading to increased inflammation levels

Starting A Plant-Based Diet 

If you want to become vegan or vegetarian or simply want to add more plant foods to your diet, your joint health is probably going to improve. From what is known from some research, cutting down on animal protein will protect you from some type of inflammatory arthritis. To get the most out a plant-based diet, follow these tips:

Get Enough Protein 

Plant-based diets are sometimes judged for their lower protein content but the truth is something different. There are several plant foods rich in protein like most animal foods. You can try:

  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Tofu
  • Legumes
  • Lentils
  • Soy milk

Enjoy Vegetables Your Way 

Plant-based diets are not about raw vegetables filling up your plate. You can try tasty vegetable-based recipes that will make you bother less for giving up on the animal-based diet you previously followed.

Add Animal Foods To Your Meals But This Time In Lesser Amounts 

If you find it hard to completely avoid eating animal foods that you really like, you can still include them in your plant-based diet but in lesser amounts. Instead of treating it as a main course, consider treating it as a side dish.

Find Out New Whole Grains 

Brown rice and oatmeal aren’t the only options you have in whole grains. To make your meals interesting, include grains like buckwheat, quinoa, and barley in your diet. Whole grains have a large part to play in weight loss. Refined grains are calorically denser than whole grains. Due to this, it contributes to weight gain.

Take Nutrient Supplements If Needed

If you choose to avoid animal foods altogether, you may lack some nutrients like vitamin B12, Calcium (if you do not go out much in the sun), Iodine, and more. To avoid becoming deficient in these nutrients, you might have to take supplements for these nutrients.

The diet you follow has a significant impact on the severity of your RA symptoms. By eating a healthy diet, you can handle the symptoms better and lead a life with better quality.