Diet is Critical in Managing RA Symptoms

February 21, 2011

Experts and study show that certain diets can help manage rhuematoid arthritis symptoms.

Earlier this month, it was reported in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine that poor sleep quality in rheumatoid arthritis patients (RA) could have a negative impact on depression symptoms, pain severity, fatigue, and overall greater functional disability.

Earlier this week, it was suggested by one expert that diet could help assuage these symptoms in RA patients.

Alison Wyndham, director of the Wyndham Centrein London, the United Kingdom, suggested that a diet high in green vegetables could help RA patients who have difficulty sleeping.

Diet, she said, is important in the pain management of those with RA, as what human beings eat affects nearly everything we do and how we feel on a day by day basis; this includes how it affects our sleep patterns.

Wyndham suggested that RA patients should consider “eating lots of green vegetables to make the body more alkaline, as inflammation is less likely to survive in an alkaline medium.”

“There are certain foods that create inflammation in the body, such as sugar and processed food, so I would recommend cutting such foods out of their diet,” she explained.

Wyndham is not alone in this line of thinking; a study published last week concluded that a diet rich in fiber such as whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables can help the body fight against chronic illnesses, as well as lead to a lengthier life.

The suggestion in the study was that whole grains such as oatmeal, wheat bran, and barley pose a rather significant impact on health, including the possibility of preventing of lessening the effects of rheumatoid arthritis.

The reasoning behind this suggestion is based on what lies in the food: foods which contain wheat bran, whole grains, and barley are rich in antioxidants such as selenium and zinc.

Writing in at editorial that accompanied the Archives of Internal Medicine study, two researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health stated that these antioxidants “may protect tissues from oxidative damage which is ... common in chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and Crohn disease.”