Rheumatoid arthritis is a consequence of an imbalance in the immune system that suddenly attacks joint structures. Most often, rheumatoid arthritis begins by affecting joints of the hands, feet and wrists. With time, shoulders, elbows, jaws and the neck may be affected in turn. The arthritic joints become less functional, and executing simple every day gestures may reveal impossible. On the long term, joints may become distorted due to chronic inflammation.
• PAINFUL FINGER JOINTS
• DISTORTED FINGERS
Since rheumatoid arthritis has an “autoimmune” etiology, the diet should obviously focus on equilibrating immune functions. Antioxidant-rich foods will also positively impact the damages due to free radicals while good fats will help reduce inflammation. Moreover, for a variety of reasons, some foods may cause intolerances in the long term. The immune system is then involved, which could create immune system hyper-reactivity. An abnormally high intestinal permeability may also be involved.
The addition of lactofermented foods as well as probiotics will help strengthen the intestinal flora and thereby stabilize immune functions.
Key point to remember
• Eliminate allergens from the diet (wheat, corn, soy, peanuts, etc)
• Favour a vegetarian-type of diet (for example, the Mediterranean diet)
• Choose foods rich in good fats (coldwater fish, flax and olive oils)
• Increase the amount of antioxidant-rich foods (colourful fruits and vegetables)
• Support the intestinal flora (lactofermented and probiotic-enriched products)
Smoking increases the risk of suffering from rheumatoid arthritis... Another good reason to quit! Obesity also worsens the disease. Keeping a healthy body weight is therefore an important part of rheumatoid arthritis management.