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  • Writer's pictureWalid Omar

Reduce Arthritis With a Plant Based Diet

infographic for diet for rheumatoid arthritis

Arthritis, affecting approximately one in four adults in the United States, causes painful and swollen joints. Osteoarthritis develops gradually, while rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is more aggressive, attacking the joints. While genetic factors play a role, lifestyle factors like diet also influence arthritis. Research suggests that dietary changes, particularly adopting a plant-based diet, can alleviate arthritis symptoms. Check out more of our Plant Based Diet blogs at Omar Medical here! To easily schedule an appointment with Primary Care Physician Dr. Walid Omar in St. Augustine, Florida, click here.


Plant-Based Diet and Reducing Arthritis

Studies have shown that a low-fat vegan diet can improve joint pain in patients with RA. This diet, high in fiber and low in fat, reduces inflammation and associated pain and swelling. Additionally, plant-based diets are associated with a lower BMI, which is beneficial as excess body weight increases the risk of developing RA and reduces the likelihood of remission.


Trigger Foods That Worsen Arthritis

red meat that worsens arthritis symptoms

Certain foods can exacerbate arthritis symptoms. A survey of over 1,000 arthritis patients found that:

  • Red meat

  • Sugar

  • Fat

  • Salt

  • caffeine

  • Dairy

  • Chocolate

  • Eggs

  • Citrus Fruits

  • Meat

  • Wheat

  • Nuts and Peanuts

  • Nightshade plants (e.g., tomatoes, eggplant)

are common triggers. Additionally, research indicates that dairy protein may exacerbate symptoms. To identify your trigger foods, refer to our elimination diet plan below.


Dietary Strategies for Arthritis Management

A Four-Week Anti-Arthritis Diet can help identify trigger foods. During this period, focus on pain-safe foods such as...

  • Rice

  • Cooked greens

  • Orange and yellow vegetables

  • Cooked or dried non-citrus fruits

ideal meal for arthritis with cooked vegetables

Avoid common triggers completely. After four weeks, gradually reintroduce eliminated foods to pinpoint specific triggers.


Here's how to begin the Four-Week Anti-Arthritis Diet:

  1. Enjoy an abundance of foods from the pain-safe list.

  2. Completely avoid common triggers.

  3. Eat foods that are not on either list freely.


While you may start feeling better earlier, it often takes at least four weeks for chronically inflamed joints to begin cooling down. After four weeks, if your symptoms have improved or disappeared, reintroduce the eliminated foods back into your diet one at a time, every two days.


Have a generous amount of each reintroduced food and note if your joints flare up again. If they do, eliminate the food that seems to have caused the problem, let your joints cool down again, and continue to reintroduce the other foods. Wait at least two weeks before trying a problem food a second time, as many people have more than one food trigger.


Q&A Section

Q1: Can dietary changes alone manage arthritis symptoms?

A1: While dietary changes can significantly improve arthritis symptoms, they are often most effective when combined with other treatments recommended by healthcare professionals.

Q2: Are there any supplements that can help with arthritis?

A2: Some supplements, such as omega-3 fatty acids and turmeric, have shown promise in reducing inflammation and easing arthritis symptoms. However, it's essential to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new supplement regimen.

Q3: How important is weight management in arthritis management?

A3: Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for managing arthritis, as excess body weight can put added stress on joints, leading to increased pain and inflammation. A plant-based diet can aid in weight management and improve overall joint health.


hands that have arthritis pain

Conclusion

After four weeks of following the elimination diet, you might discover that adopting a plant-based diet is crucial for staying free from pain. By avoiding trigger foods and focusing on pain-safe options, individuals with arthritis can potentially reduce pain, inflammation, and stiffness in their joints.


Explore more health tips and insights from Omar Medical on our Facebook page, and schedule an appointment with Dr. Omar, Family Physician and Primary Care Physician here.


Explore additional resources from Omar Medical for understanding how a plant-based diet may be the key to significantly improving your health:



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