A rheumatoid arthritis (RA) diagnosis can be devastating. It’s painful. There is no known cure. And to add insult to injury, it’s all because your own body is attacking itself.
RA occurs when your immune system mistakenly fights the tissue in your joints. In more extreme cases, it can spread beyond your joints. Your immune system can also attack your heart, blood vessels, lungs, and more.1
The result is painful swelling and even visible joint deformity caused by intense inflammation.2
Doctors often prescribe a few different prescription drugs to temporarily stop inflammation and reduce pain. But these drugs—like NSAIDs and steroids—come with a long list of dangerous side effects. As is often the case with prescription drugs, sometimes the side effects are worse than the disease the drugs are treating. Side effects of NSAIDS and steroids include liver and kidney damage, stomach issues, brittle bones, weight gain, and diabetes.3
Some RA sufferers use yoga, tai chi, and other natural methods to manage their symptoms. And now a new study from Japan shows that a Mediterranean-style diet can help ease the destructive effects of RA.
The study followed the diets of more than 400 people. About half had RA and the other half were healthy. Researchers found that those with RA ate far less monounsaturated fats, meat, vegetables, alcohol, and dairy than the healthy group. These are the foundation foods of the Mediterranean diet.4
The Mediterranean diet is rich in organic fruits and veggies. It also includes some whole grains and legumes, plenty of nuts, and olive oil. The main sources of protein are seafood, pastured eggs, and poultry. But grass-fed organic meat is fine, too. Cheese and other dairy products are OK in moderation.
I’ve always been a fan of this type of diet. In addition to protecting you from rheumatoid arthritis, tons of research has proven it can prevent heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and diabetes.5
The best part? You can drink red wine on this diet.6 (In moderation, of course.)
References: 1 http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/rheumatoid-arthritis/home/ovc-20197388 2 http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/rheumatoid-arthritis/home/ovc-20197388 3 http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/rheumatoid-arthritis/diagnosis-treatment/treatment/txc-20197400 4 http://www.nutraingredients.com/Research/Mediterranean-diet-linked-to-rheumatoid-arthritis-benefits-Japan-study 5 http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/mediterranean-diet/art-20047801 6 http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/mediterranean-diet/art-20047801