Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a type of autoimmune arthritis in which the body’s immune system begins attacking the joints. RA causes symptoms of pain and swelling often in the smaller joints (i.e., fingers, toes, wrists, and the hands and feet). Treatments for RA such as Xeljanz, Tremfya, Actemra, Rinvoq, Skyrizi, Simponi aria, Apremilast, and over the counter pain relievers like Voltaren and Advil aim to reduce pain and swelling in the joints. Doctors often prescribe medications and other therapies, but certain foods and snacks may also be used in conjunction to help rheumatoid arthritis patients ease the symptoms like inflammation and pain:
1. Fruits and vegetables
Healthy snacks can be made for rheumatoid arthritis patients by using fresh fruits and vegetables. Apart from other nutrients beneficial for overall health, fruits and vegetables have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation. Fruits like citrus fruits, apples, grapes, berries, and pears are beneficial, along with vegetables like broccoli, spinach, celery, and cauliflower. They can be added to various snacks to make them healthy and alleviate the symptoms of the condition. Eating fruits and vegetables with the skin is recommended for the added fiber intake.
One of the best snack options for rheumatoid arthritis patients is nuts and seeds as the fiber and magnesium in nuts are beneficial. Walnuts, cashew nuts, almonds, and pistachios can be eaten raw or with spices, and they are excellent for relief from rheumatoid arthritis symptoms as well as for overall health.
3. Whole grains
Bread and cereals made from processed flour are not good for health, but whole-grain bread and cereal contain fiber, which is good for the body. Whole grains can reduce the levels of C-Reactive protein (CRP) in the blood, which is responsible for rheumatoid arthritis and other health conditions like diabetes. Brown rice, brown bread, and oatmeal are healthy snacks for rheumatoid arthritis patients as they help relieve inflammation.
A filling snack can be prepared using beans like kidney beans and red beans as they are rich in proteins and fiber. They also have magnesium, zinc, and iron, which are good for the immune system, and they help lower CRP in the blood, reducing inflammation.
Soybean is an excellent food for rheumatoid arthritis patients. It is rich in proteins, is filling, and helps boost the immune system. It also improves the mood of a person, allowing them to be able to tolerate pain better. Edamame and tofu can be used to prepare different snacks beneficial for rheumatoid arthritis.
6. Green tea
Green tea is a better option for rheumatoid arthritis patients instead of coffee or tea with snacks. It contains polyphenols that are excellent for relieving inflammation, and green tea without milk or sugar is one of the most beneficial beverage options.
7. Fatty fish
Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel can also be eaten as a snack. Fatty fish has omega-3 fatty acids, which is useful in fighting inflammation, and cooking the fish in olive oil is helpful as it promotes heart health.
Spices like ginger, garlic, and turmeric are well-known for their anti-inflammatory properties and can be added to the food while preparing it. Rheumatoid arthritis patients can also spice up their favorite snack recipes for better taste and to improve the health benefits.