Foods to avoid to manage rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a progressive and chronic inflammatory condition that leads to joint pain, stiffness, and swelling. It is considered an autoimmune disease that can cause loss of joint functions and deformities. While no food can treat this condition, it may be a smart move to avoid foods that worsen its symptoms. Read on to know which foods to avoid if you have RA and medical treatment options for RA.

Sugar
Beverages and drinks that contain high levels of sugar are known to induce and worsen joint pain. The American Heart Association recommends 6 teaspoons per day for women and 9 teaspoons for men. Try to limit or avoid eating candy, soda, ice cream, and other foods that are full of unhealthy amounts of sugar. Replace sweetened drinks with an unsweetened version by adding organic honey or lemon.

Salt
Salt is one of the essential nutrients for humans. However, when consumed in excess, it can trigger a variety of serious health issues, including joint pain. Eating too much salt increases not only the risk of RA but also kidney problems. Substitute salt in your food with other herbs and spices like ground pepper, oregano, minced garlic, onion powder, cumin, or any other seasoning to enhance the taste.

Processed red meats
Research has shown that red and processed meats increase inflammation leading to joint pain. They contain high levels of unhealthy saturated fats, which are harmful to arthritis patients. According to American Heart Foundation, cutting down on red meat consumption reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases by about 30%.

Medication for RA

Actemra (tocilizumab)
Medical info on Actemra states that it treats moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis. It is also used to treat giant cell arthritis, lung dysfunction caused by scleroderma, polyarticular or systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis, and severe cytokine release syndrome (CRS).

Arava (leflunomide)
This medicine works by weakening your immune system to help reduce the swelling in RA. Individuals may be instructed to take a high dose for the first three days of treatment. Follow the doctor’s instructions for best results.

Trexall (methotrexate)
Trexall is used for the treatment of polyarticular-course juvenile RA in children and severe RA in adults. It is also used for severe psoriasis, leukemia, and cancers like breast, skin, head and neck, lung, or uterus.