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Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disease, affects approximately 1% of the world’s population. The pathogenesis of RA remains unclear, but genetic factors account for 50-60% of the risk, while the rest could be linked to modifiable factors, such as infectious diseases, smoking, gut bacteria and nutrition. Food triggers can play an inciting role in the autoimmune process, and a compromised gut barrier can allow food components or microorganisms to enter the bloodstream, triggering inflammation. In addition, excessive body weight can affect pharmacotherapeutic response and the likelihood of disease remission, as well as the risk of disease mortality. Medication is a mainstay of treatment, but proper diet can help manage rheumatoid arthritis.Also Read – EXCLUSIVE: Shamita Shetty reveals what she eats in a day to keep her body fit at the age of 43, her diet and fitness secrets revealed; look

Excessive body weight increases the risk of RA. Excess fatty tissue secretes pro-inflammatory cytokines and increases tissue inflammation. Increased body weight further aggravates joint damage in these patients. The Canadian Early Arthritis Cohort (CATCH) study (n=982) showed that being overweight or obese was independently associated with a decreased chance of achieving durable remission of RA. Diets high in fat and processed meat increase inflammatory markers, while diets high in whole grains and fruit reduce them. Also Read – Prevent Dry Eyes While Keeping Warm This Winter With These Simple Tips

  • Processed carbohydrates like white flour and white sugar, saturated and trans fats like those found in fried foods, red and processed meats, dairy products, eggs can increase the inflammatory response. Studies show that a Mediterranean diet, with plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats, is a good choice for people with RA.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids in fish can help control inflammation. Unfortunately, there have been few experiences with fish oils in RA patients that have shown favorable results and therefore practical and safe doses are still unknown for this dietary therapy. Excessive fish oil supplements can interfere with blood clotting and increase the risk of stroke, especially when taken in conjunction with aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Excess consumption of fish oils has also been linked to changes in bowel habits such as diarrhea and can also cause stomach upset.
  • Peas and beans are a good source of plant-based protein that contributes to muscle health, are nearly fat-free, and are a source of antioxidants.
  • Nuts are full of healthy monounsaturated fats. Walnuts are good in moderation for people with rheumatoid arthritis because they are high in omega-3 fatty acids but high in calories.
  • Olive oil contains healthy monounsaturated fats and a compound called oleocanthal that reduces inflammation, but consume it in moderation. like all oils, it is a fat that can lead to weight gain. The results show that dietary changes are difficult to maintain over the long term and that eliminating one or more food groups (as in a strict vegan diet) can lead to deficiencies. The patient must be willing and able to make the change. These patients are already vulnerable to nutritional risk and therefore should be encouraged to follow a healthy, balanced diet and maintain a healthy weight instead of aggressive dietary manipulation in the expectation of a miracle cure.

Nutrition guidelines:

  • Eat a variety of foods
  • Balance the food you eat with physical activity; maintain or improve your weight
  • Choose a diet rich in grain products, vegetables and fruits
  • Choose a diet low in fat, saturated fat and cholesterol
  • Get more fiber in your diet
  • Choose a moderate sugar diet
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages
  • Calcium and vitamin D supplementation to reduce the risk of osteoporosis
  • Supplement with vitamin C, B6, B12, E, folic acid, magnesium, zinc and selenium supplements, as food alone may not provide enough

(Contributions by Dr Kaushal Malhan, Director of Orthopedics and Joint Replacement Surgery, Fortis Hospital, Mulund) ALSO READ – EXCLUSIVE: Actress Antim Mahima Makwana on what she eats in a day, her fitness secrets revealed; look