Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory joint disease that causes pain, swelling, stiffness and loss of function in the joints. It is usually chronic. The incidence is highest in people aged 20-50, It can also be seen in children and teenagers. It is 3 times more common in females than in males.
In rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system deteriorates and the body perceives its own part as a foreign tissue and starts a war against it. In the joints inflammatory cells are formed and substances are released which will damage the tissues. So, Rheumatoid arthritis patients should be careful with what they eat and they should follow a very carefully planned anti inflammatory diet plan for arthritis.
How should rheumatoid arthritis patients feed?
Studies have shown that patients with rheumatoid arthritis have a low saturated fat content and that the Mediterranean-style diet improves the patient’s condition and reduces inflammation.
In Mediterranean diet; chicken, fish and lean red meat, plenty of vegetables, fresh fruit, olive oil, whole grains, nuts and oil seeds have important places. However, it is also important that these patients have adequate energy, protein and calcium requirements. Chronic inflammations caused by the disease can increase people’s weight loss, muscle destruction and protein requirements.
These people may face the risk of cachexia (excessive weight loss) and muscle wasting. Adequate and balanced nutrition of these patients helps to lead a healthier and better quality of life, even if the disease is not completely prevented.
According to many studies, omega-3 rich fish such as tuna fish, salmon, mackerel, herring, trout and geranium have many benefits to human body. Regular omega-3 consumption is also required to reduce general inflammation, decrease joint pain, and strengthening of the immune system. It is also known that omega-3 fatty acids (EPA, DHA) reduce the risk of heart disease caused by rheumatoid arthritis.
You should consume fish at least 2 times a week for adequate omega 3 intake. In addition, walnuts, quince, flax seeds are other good sources of omega-3, and you can easily use them in meals or in salads.
Iron and folic acid
In patients with rheumatoid arthritis, iron and folic acid intake is as important as omega 3. In 60% of patients, inflammation and the use of steroid-free drugs may result in anemia. For this reason, You should include lean red meat, eggs, green leafy vegetables, dried legumes which are rich in iron, grains and liver, spinach, mushrooms, dried legumes, green leafy vegetables, fatty seeds rich in folic acid. Dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach and curly cabbage are as good as antioxidants as they are rich in folic acid. These nutrients help to reduce the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis by strengthening the immune system with antioxidant properties.
In addition, vitamin C-rich vegetables (citrus fruits, fresh peppers, parsley, green leafy vegetables) are also important to consume in addition to these foods.
Calcium and vitamin D
Corticosteroids given for rheumatoid arthritis can compromise calcium absorption in your body, which can lead to weakening of the bones and increase risk of osteoporosis. For this reason, patients with rheumatoid arthritis should not neglect the consumption of nutrients such as milk, yoghurt, cheese rich in calcium. You should prefer Fat and half-fat dairy products to full-fat products as they contain more calcium.
Vitamin D plays an important role in strengthening bones and helping to prevent osteoporosis by increasing calcium absorption, as well as increasing the incidence of rheumatoid arthritis deficiencies. In studies, women with adequate vitamin D were found to have a lower likelihood of developing rheumatoid arthritis. While the best source of vitamin D is the sun, fish, dairy products and egg yolks are also important sources of vitamin D.
Acidic fruits and vegetables should be consumed in small quantities as they may increase rheumatoid arthritis symptoms and joint pain.