Adapting a healthy diet is a very important strategy if you have rheumatoid arthritis or wish to avoid this disease altogether. Unfortunately, the majority of people today consume diets loaded with processed foods, grains and sugars like fructose
Studies have shown links between the constant consumption of sugar and diseases such as obesity,1 Type 2 diabetes,2 Alzheimer’s,3 dementia4,5 and heart disease.6,7 Sugar may “feed” pathogenic microbes and weaken your immune system, among other negative effects. In fact, excessive sugar intake is linked to 76 negative effects to your health, such as increased risk of chronic degenerative diseases and autoimmune diseases (like RA), decreased tissue elasticity and function, and brittle tendons.
Opt for These Healthier Options Instead
It’s crucial that you nourish your body with a wide variety of high-quality, organic and locally grown whole vegetables. Apart from being rich in vitamins and minerals, vegetables are effective anti-inflammatories — perfect for rheumatoid arthritis patients.8 Some of the best choices include:
- Sprouts: These vegetables, which have just sprung from the seeds, may offer more nutritional power compared to their matured counterparts. Sprouts contain high amounts of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and enzymes, and protect your body from free radicals and toxic pollutants. Notable sprout options include sunflower, pea, Brussels and broccoli sprouts.
- Spinach: This popular leafy green vegetable offers antioxidant support as well as anti-inflammatory benefits. Spinach also has a bounty of minerals like potassium, calcium, zinc, and selenium and vitamin A.9
- Kale: Another leafy green, kale does not disappoint when it comes to health benefits. Kale not only has anti-inflammatory properties, but it also contains antioxidant properties10 and assists in protecting the DNA from further damage because of the presence of a compound called indole-3-carbinol.11
You can also eat fruits, but only in moderation. While rich in vitamins and minerals, some fruits are high in fructose.
How Do Fermented Foods Help RA Patients?
Increasing your intake of fermented food can promote anti-inflammatory effects on the body. It’s been proven that eating fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut and natto can nourish your gut microbiome, thanks to the vast amounts of good bacteria in these foods. Fermented foods also:
Contain high amounts of vitamin K2, which may assist help in lowering risk for arterial plaque buildup and heart disease
Produce B vitamins
Boost your mood and mental health
Help detoxify toxins and eliminate heavy metals from the body, and boost the immune system in your digestive tract (all courtesy of the beneficial bacteria)
Reduce risk for obesity and diabetes
Controldietary fat absorption
Making your own batch of fermented foods at home is not as tedious as you think, and does not require expensive gadgets or tools. In fact, some items required in making fermented foods can already be found in your kitchen:
Food processor with a shredding disc
Large cutting board and bowl
Canning jars (wide-mouthed, 32-ounce Mason jars are good)
Krautpounder (a solid wood tool that resembles a small baseball bat to compress vegetables into the container)
If you want the vegetables to ferment faster and have better quality, you can add a high-quality starter culture into the mix.