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Dr. Arthritis Asks: Have You Experienced the Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet for RA?

Dr. Arthritis Asks: Have You Experienced the Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet for RA?

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Rheumatoid Arthritis, (RA) one of the most common forms of arthritis, is an autoimmune disorder characterized by inflammation which causes pain and swelling. Genetic factors are said to play a role in symptoms, but studies now show that lifestyle, including diet, play a role in symptom management.

A recent review published in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition shows strong and consistent evidence that a plant-based diet can reduce inflammation and improve symptoms associated with RA.

The study points to several specific ways a plant-based diet is effective in managing RA–

  1. Compared to diets high in fat and animal products, plant based diets actually saw reductions in inflammatory scores. Studies that focused on diets high in processed meat and fat were also associated with a rise in inflammatory markers, including C-reactive protein (CRP), while plant-based diets and high-fiber diets were shown to lower CRP levels.
  2. A separate randomized clinical trial that studied a low-fat vegan diet among people with moderate to severe RA saw significantly less morning joint stiffness after just four weeks on the diet. Plant-based diets can potentially address RA pain, joint tenderness, and even joint swelling.
  3. Plant-based diets also usually equate to lower BMI. Numerous studies have already pointed out that excess body weight raises your risk of developing RA and plant-based diets are well known for helping people manage their weight better.. Patients who lose an average of 5kg of body weight are more likely to experience improvements in RA symptoms.
  4. Healthy gut bacteria could play a key role in RA and inflammation. High fiber plant based diets can potentially alter the composition of gut bacteria and gut bacterial diversity, which is often lacking in RA patients.

A closely supervised treatment plan and a well-managed diet that includes a lot of fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes could be game-changing for those who suffer from RA. This study explores the possibility that choosing to eat healthy can go a very long way towards managing the most prevalent RA symptoms.

Of course, more research is needed to review the numerous studies and growing anecdotal evidence available today regarding this subject, but the initial results are definitely promising. A plant-based diet can be a useful intervention for coping with RA because it can trigger helpful biological changes.

Have you tried going on a plant-based diet to manage your RA symptoms? Share your experience with us in the comment section below. For questions or inquiries about this subject matter, feel free to email us at enquiry@doctorarthritis.org.

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