Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation of the joints. This means that the body’s own immune system attacks its own healthy tissue.  Although target areas like joints and ligaments are defining characteristics of rheumatoid arthritis, it can also affect other parts of the body as well, such as skin, eyes, lungs, heart and blood vessels.

Symptoms of RA include:

  • Pain or aching of joints
  • Stiffness of joints
  • Swelling of joints
  • Tender, warm joints
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Fever

In addition to treatment, there are several lifestyle changes you can consider to help with RA symptoms, such as changing up your diet. Check out these foods that help fight rheumatoid arthritis.

Omega-3 Fats

Research suggests that food high in omega-3 fats help prevent inflammation. This healthy fat is found in salmon, sardines, mackerel, trout, flaxseeds and walnuts. Try eating 3 to 4 ounces of fish, twice a week.

Broccoli

Broccoli really is a super food. It is rich in vitamins C and K, and calcium, and it contains a helpful compound called sulforaphane. According to a Mayo Clinic study, Broccoli actually helps protect against the development of RA. Try also adding cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and kale to your regular diet.

Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

Olive oil, a heart healthy fat, contains oleocanthal, which blocks inflammation enzymes. Try using it as a replacement for other oils in your cooking and salad dressings.

Vitamin C

Cartilage protects and cushions joints as they move. Vitamin C protects collagen, which is a large part of cartilage. Try adding more citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits to your diet to reap the benefits of vitamin C.

Green Tea

Green tea contains polyphenols, which are antioxidants believed to reduce inflammation and slow cartilage destruction. When looking for your morning caffeine kick, try switching from coffee to a hot cup of green tea.

Whole Grains

C-reactive protein (CRP) in the blood is a marker of inflammation. Whole grains help lower these levels. The next time you are at the store, skip the white rice and pick up some brown rice. Oatmeal and whole-grain cereals are also smart choices.

Anyone can be affected by RA. Having a family member with RA can increase your odds; however, the majority of people with the disease do not have family history of the disease. Currently, RA affects about 1% of Americans. It affects almost 3 times as many women as it does men.

If you feel RA may affect you, let us help you at Parker Sports Medicine and Orthopedics. Give us a call at 806.350.BONE (2663) to schedule an appointment today!