What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease characterized by chronic inflammation. Inflammation from this condition primarily affects the small joints of the hands and feet. Rheumatoid arthritis attacks the lining of the joints, causing a painful swelling that can eventually result in bone erosion and joint deformity. Often times with rheumatoid arthritis the individual will have large nodules on the joints of the hands and feet. The symptoms wax and wane based on flare ups.
Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks your own body's tissues (thus autoimmune). In addition to the joint issues one may experience, rheumatoid arthritis sometimes can affect other organs of the body, such as the skin, eyes, lungs and blood vessels. Rheumatoid arthritis can occur at any age, however, typically it begins after the age of 40. The disorder is much more common in women.
Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms
- Tender, warm, swollen joints
- Morning stiffness that may last for hours
- Firm bumps of tissue under the skin on your arms (rheumatoid nodules)
- Fatigue, fever and weight loss
Western medical treatment focuses on controlling symptoms, and preventing joint damage. However, the underlying cause of Rheumatoid Arthritis is related to digestion, and having what is known as a “leaky gut.” Following an autoimmune paleo diet template would be best for reducing inflammation and thus reversing the disease process.
Rheumatoid Arthritis Diet
Because Rheumatoid Arthritis is an inflammatory condition, an anti-inflammatory diet is recommended to help heal the gut and reduce symptoms. Many who struggle with rheumatoid arthritis also struggle with digestive symptoms. Therefore following an Autoimmune Paleo protocol is beneficial for healing. Many people find relief from their symptoms by switching over to a paleo diet. However, an autoimmune protocol involves removing all difficult to digest grains and dairy from the diet, as well as nightshade vegetables including potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, peppers (certain vegetables/spices that many people with autoimmune condition react to). The focus should be on increasing nutrient dense, quality foods such as fatty meats that have been pasture raised, bone broths that have been simmered for a minimum of 24 hours, and vegetables, including fermented foods. The diet would need to be low in inflammatory Omega-6 fatty acids, such as those that come from vegetable oil, soy oil, and highly processed oils. The diet should be high in Omega-3 fatty acids, and monounsaturated fatty acids, and include some saturated fats as well.