Jun 3, 2013

Foods to avoid if you have rheumatoid arthritis (RA)

Eating fruits and vegetables may help to prevent rheumatoid arthritis. A study from the Mayo Clinic showed that women who ate diets higher in fruits and vegetables were less likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis. This study doesn't show that eating fruits and vegetables will improve the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis; however, everyone should eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables every day.

There are some foods that may help you feel better by reducing inflammation. Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids may help to reduce inflammation. Choose foods with healthy fats such as fish, walnuts, soy, canola oil, flax seeds and pumpkin seeds. Here's a list of my favorite anti-inflammatory foods.

Anti- Inflammatory Foods :

What to Eat

Fats and Oils. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in cold-water oily fish,flax seedscanola oil and pumpkin seeds. Consumption ofmonounsaturated fatty acids found in olive oil, avocados, and nuts has been linked to reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Other healthful oils include rice bran oil, grape seed oil, and walnut oil.
Fruits and Vegetables. Whole fruits, berries and vegetables are all rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants and phytochemicals. Choose green and brightly colored vegetables and whole fruits such as broccoli, chard, strawberries, blueberries, spinach, carrots and squash. You should eat at least five (and preferably more) servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
Protein Sources. Possible anti-inflammatory protein sources include lean poultry, fish and seafood (fatty fish offer protein as well as omega-3 fatty acids). Soy and soy foods such as tofu and tempeh, along with other legumes and nuts and seeds, can be used as plant-based protein sources. The best nuts are walnuts, almonds, pecans and Brazil nuts.
Beverages. Your body needs water. Drink tap, sparkling or bottled water, 100-percent juices, herbal tea, low-sodium vegetable juice, and low- or non-fat milk are all healthful sources of water.

Anti-inflammatory Diet Tips

Choose fresh foods more often and choose fewer heavily processed foods. Here are some tips:
  • For breakfast, try oatmeal served with fresh berries and walnuts.
  • Snack on whole fruits, nuts, seeds, and fresh vegetables instead of cookies and candy.
  • Eat more fish and less fatty red meat.
  • Cook with olive oil and canola oil.
  • Try a tofu stir-fry or scramble.
  • Have a salad with lots of fresh vegetables as your meal.
  • Stay away from deep-fried foods; bake, broil, poach or stir-fry instead.
  • Choose dark green or brightly colored vegetables as side dishes -- they should fill half your dinner plate.

Foods To Avoid

Loading up on junk foods, high-fat meats, sugar, and highly processed foods may increase the potential for inflammation in your body. Reduce your consumption of trans-fats and saturated fats by cutting back on highly processed foods, red meats, and high-fat processed meats such as bacon and sausage. Cut back on refined white flours in bread and pasta (look for 100-percent whole grains instead). A small amount of sugar is okay, but cut down on mostadded sugars by decreasing your consumption of sugary sodas, pastries, candy, rich desserts, and pre-sweetened cereals.
Another possible source of irritation comes from the nightshade family of plants, which includes, tomatoes, and eggplant. These vegetables contain a chemical alkaloid called solanine, which can trigger pain in some people. While there aren't any formal research findings that back the claim about nightshade plants, some people do believe they get relief from the symptoms of pain and inflammation when they eliminate them.
Maintaining a healthy weight also appears to be helpful for reducing pain and inflammation. I designed these calorie calculators to help you determine how many calories you need each day.
Foods to enjoy from an ayurvedic point of view:

Cooked vegetables such as pumpkin, squashes, marrow, courgette, spinach, french beans, mange-tout, asparagus, fennel, sweed, sweet corn, onions, carrots, parsnips, beetroot, cellery, chicory and leeks. 
However, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, peppers, broad beans, kohlrabi and potatoes should only be taken occasionally. Raw vegetables (carrots, cucumbers, cellery, peppers etc.) should be avoided, but lettuce and all salad leaves can be taken at lunch time, preceding the meal and served with oil. 

Pulses like mung and split mung beans, tur dal and red lentils are easy to digest, balancing and nourishing to the body. 
Chickpeas, chana dal, black-eyed and kidney beans should only be taken very occasionally and must be thoroughly soaked and well cooked. To get the full value from pulses they should be eaten together with grains (esp. rice). Tofu made from soya beans can also be enjoyed.

Grains including rice, oat, rye, maize, millet, amaranth, quinoa, kamut, spelt, polenta; basically everything other than wheat. Flours made from the above grains and also from potatoe and buckwheat are excellent substitutes for ‘normal’ flour. Bread (wheat free!) should only be eaten when toasted as the dry heat stops further fermentation. Porridge made without milk, but with cinnamon and cardamom, coconut flakes, soaked raisins or stewed fruit is an ideal breakfast: easy to digest, highly nutritious, warming and energizing.

Seeds and nuts such as pumpkin, sesame, poppy and sunflower seeds, pine nuts, almonds (without skin), walnuts, hazelnuts, pistaccios and brazil nuts should only be eaten in very small amounts (max. 10 daily!) as they are heavy to digest and vata increasing. They are best soaked and made into a paste or milk. Peanuts and cashewnuts should be avoided. The flesh, milk, cream and flakes of coconuts can be used liberally. 


All sweet fruits such as apples, pears, apricots, grapes, cherries, plums, sweet berries, fresh figs, dates and also pomegranate. Bananas are very cold in energy and therefore best eaten when cooked. They should be avoided while having a cough, cold, flu or mucus accumulation in the respiratory tract. Unsulphured dried fruits are okay, but have to be soaked or made into a stew.

Of all dairy products ghee (clarified butter) is the best - it is like a medicine (highly pitta reducing) and can be cooked with and added to practically everything. Normal butter is also good and definitely better then margarines and other such processed spreads
Milk should only be taken warm and, preferably, spiced with ginger, cardamom, cinnamon or turmeric. Good alternatives to cow‘s milk are soya and rice milk. 
Fresh cheeses such as quark, mozzarella, feta and ricotta are easier to digest then hard, old ones and are also less mucus producing. They are best enjoyed with some black pepper to stimulate agni.

If meat is eaten at all one should stick to white meat only, i.e. chicken and turkey. 
Fish is very hot and pitta increasing in nature and therefore best avoided. If eaten one should choose fresh water rather then sea fish.

Sweeteners: refined sugar should be replaced by jaggery (solidified sugar cane juice), raw cane sugar, date sugar, molasses, rice syrup or honey. Honey is not heat stable and becomes poisonous for the body when heated, cooked or baked.

Drinks: Black tea and coffee can be drunk, but herbal teas and decaffeinated coffee are better. Good alternatives to normal coffee are Caro or Barley Cup. Ginger tea made from fresh roots is warming, agni increasing, removes mucus and toxins and is the number one remedy for coughs and colds. However, if drunk regularly it would be too pitta increasing.

Most essential is the use of spices. Cumin, coriander, fennel and saffron are the best for balancing all doshas, increasing agni and should be used liberally. Black pepper, turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, mustard seeds, nutmeg, all fresh herbs (particularily fresh coriander) and onions, garlic and ginger should also be used. Asafoetida reduces vata and should be added when cooking pulses, cabbage and beans to reduce their gas producing properties.


Generally:

- Cooked is better than raw! 
- Warm, sloppy, soupy meals are better than heavy, dry, solid foods.
- Never mix milk with fruit, honey, meat or fish!
- Never heat honey!
- Only eat when hungry and when the last meal has been digested (after 3-4 hours).
- To avoid diluting the digestive juices (agni) preferably drink 10 minutes before or half an hour after a meal.
- Try to eat at regular times in the day.
- Don’t eat too late at night and leave 1-2 hours before going to sleep.

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