Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that attacks the joints. This chronic arthritis can seriously interfere with a sufferer’s quality of life. To suppress disease symptoms, some studies advise sufferers to undergo a plant-based diet.
RA is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation of the joints. The parts of the body most commonly affected are the hands, wrists, feet, and knees. However, this disease can attack other areas such as the lungs, blood vessels, and skin.
Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis
In the early stages, a person with RA may not show typical symptoms, but they may already experience joint pain. What are the various complaints of people with RA at an early stage?
1. Joint pain
The pain is throbbing and is often worse in the morning and after periods of inactivity. AR sufferers who wake up (in the morning), their joints do not experience movement for a long time. This pain causes joint problems that are symmetrical and can affect the hands, feet, and knees.
2. Joint stiffness
Joints affected by RA can feel stiff. Patients will have difficulty clenching or bending their fingers completely. Like joint pain, stiffness is often worse in the morning or after the person has stopped activities. This condition can last more than 30 minutes.
RA is a type of autoimmune disease that is prone to causing damage to joints. The affected joint lining will become inflamed, which can cause the joints to swell and become hot.
The capsule tissue that lines the joint or called the synovium, and the soft bone lining the joint will be damaged and cause tissue formation called the pannus.
Inflammation of the excess synovial tissue leads to pannus formation and destruction of cartilage, bone, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels. This enlargement of the synovium is called the pannus.
Inflammation that occurs continuously will make the joints affected by RA red. These red or painful joints can also be a sign of infection.
“In patients with AR who have damaged joints, the joints will be susceptible to infection. In joints that have an infection, sufferers will complain of pain, swelling, and difficulty moving.
5. Rheumatoid nodules
Rheumatoid nodules are hard lumps that appear on the subcutaneous area, the deepest layer of skin. About 20 percent of patients with RA experience it. These nodules usually occur in traumatized joints, such as the finger and elbow joints.
Not only on the fingers and elbows, but nodules can sometimes also occur in other places, such as the back of the heel, and can cause pain.
Can a plant-based diet suppress the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis?
Talking about plant-based diets, many people assume this type of diet is the same as a vegan. Both are arguably similar because they rely on vegetable protein sources. However, some plant-based dieters still consume several processed animal products such as milk, cheese, and eggs. Vegans generally put more emphasis on a worldview.
Apart from being healthy, plant-based diets have more benefits associated with RA. According to a study recently published in the health journal “Frontiers in Nutrition,” a plant-based diet can help suppress the symptoms that accompany RA.
The study concluded that a plant-based diet, high in vegetables and whole grains, might be added to RA patients’ dietary improvement list.
A plant-based diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes may be of great help to those with rheumatoid arthritis.
Why do plant-based diets work?
The reason may be that a plant-based diet has been shown to reduce inflammation, promote healthy gut bacteria, reduce pain and inflammation, and reduce obesity or high body mass index.
All of these factors make a difference in the management of RA pain and symptoms. The study also notes that genetic factors account for 50 to 60 percent of the risk of RA.
“Also, being overweight can also affect response to disease, as well as the risk of disease death. Evidence suggests that changes in diet may play an important role in the management and reduction of RA risk,” say the investigators.
One more reason to try a plant-based diet, which is to reduce the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. It is better to consult your doctor first if you are interested in undergoing this diet. If you don’t have the disease, you can also try it because a plant-based diet has been proven to bring many health benefits.