Rheumatoid arthritis is a common rheumatic disease, affecting approximately 1% of the world population. There are over 2,500,000 people in the United States and over 750,000 in Germany suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. The disease is three times more common in women as in men. It afflicts people of all races equally. The disease can begin at any age, but most often starts after age forty and before sixty. In some families, multiple members can be affected, suggesting a genetic basis for the disorder.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation of the joints. It can also cause inflammation of the tissue around the joints, as well as other organs in the body. Autoimmune diseases are illnesses that occur when the body tissues are mistakenly attacked by its own immune system. The immune system is a complex organization of cells and antibodies designed normally to “seek and destroy” invaders of the body, particularly infections. Patients with autoimmune diseases have antibodies in their blood that target their own body tissues, where they can be associated with inflammation. Because it can affect multiple other organs of the body including heart and kidneys, rheumatoid arthritis is referred to as a systemic illness and is sometimes called rheumatoid disease.
While rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic illness, meaning it can last for years, patients may experience long periods without symptoms. Typically, however, rheumatoid arthritis is a progressive illness that has the potential to cause joint destruction and functional disability.
Food and Rheumatoid Arthritis [RA]
The notion that food has anything to do with arthritis, particularly RA has long been rejected as nonsense or pure quackery. However, new medical discoveries reveal food’s ability to literally rev up or cool down inflammation the key process in arthritis. It’s now acknowledged by worlds leading arthritis specialists that diet can soften symptoms of arthritis and in some cases, may be the prime instigator of the suffering.
Effect of fasting on RA
There’s plenty of medical evidence that RA sufferers who go on a fast or limit themselves to a few foods usually feel better and joint pain and stiffness diminish. That’s convincing proof that diet helps regulate the body’s agents of inflammation.
Meat and RA
Meat and meat fat are prime suspects in causing a food reaction that aggravates RA. Several studies have documented marked improvement when administered diets that totally skipped meat and meat fat. A study found that when a group of RA patients were put on a plant based vegetarian diet [vegan] after a fast, the symptoms diminished remarkably.
MOST PROMINENT RA AGGRAVATING FOODS
The common foods that provoked RA symptoms in the greatest percentages of patients are listed here in order. Corn, Wheat, Bacon/pork, oranges, milk, oats, rye, eggs, beef, coffee, malt, cheese, grapefruit, tomato, peanuts, sugar, butter, lamb, lemon and soya. Corn and wheat were the worst culprits.
FOODS THAT CAN BE BENEFICIAL IN RA
Fish and fish oil – Several studies have shown that eating moderate amounts of fish like herring, salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardine that is rich in omega 3 fatty acids reduces symptoms of arthritis. Fish oil has also shown same effectiveness when taken moderately.
Ginger – Ginger has been used for thousands of years in Ayurveda to treat various rheumatic, neurological and musculoskeletal complaints. Recent studies have shown the effectiveness of Ginger when administered 5gm [fresh] three times a day. Ginger can also be had along with food or drinks.
Turmeric or curcum – Curcumin, the prime compound in turmeric improved morning stiffness, joint swelling and walking time in RA patients. 1200mg of curcumin had same anti arthritis activity as phenylbutazone.
Garlic – Widely used in Ayurveda since ages, Garlic relieves the symptoms of RA markedly. Recent studies have suggested that garlic relieves the pain in RA due to its effect on prostaglandins that help control inflammation.
OTHER BENEFICIAL FOODS
Raw juice of Potato is very beneficial in RA
Raw juice of bitter gourd is effective too.
Celery, especially a fluid extract of the seeds is beneficial.
Green stalk of Rhubarb is considered to be valuable in RA.
The tendency to arthritis may be inherited, and other factors, even a virus may be involved, but there is strong evidence that diet can be a very real aggravator or combatant of arthritis.