Arthritis: Doctor gives advice on best foods to help ease pain
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Arthritis can refer to more than 100 conditions characterised by joint pain, swelling and stiffness. Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most common. It is an autoimmune condition, meaning the immune system misfires and attacks the joints. A particularly bad bout of rheumatoid arthritis can make it hard to perform even basic tasks, but there are proven ways to alleviate symptoms.
Several studies support drinking green tea to keep the painful inflammatory condition at bay.
One study, published in the journal Physical Therapy Science, aimed to evaluate the effects of green tea and supervised exercise training interventions on improvement of disease activity in arthritis patients.
One-hundred and twenty subjects who had been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at least ten years previously were randomly included in this study.
Patients were treated with infliximab, green tea, or a supervised exercise program for six months.
Infliximab is a common type of drug used to treat arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis patients treated with green tea for six months alone or in combination with infliximab or an exercise program showed significant improvement in disease activity parameters, including swollen and tender joints counts.
What’s more, additional tests revealed more clinical improvement in the disease activity of rheumatoid arthritis patients treated with green tea along with exercise compared with rheumatoid arthritis patients treated with infliximab or exercise combinations.
“This may have been due to the higher potential antioxidant activity of green tea,” wrote the study researchers.
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“Both exercise and green tea interventions appeared to be beneficial as non-drug modulates for rheumatoid arthritis disorders.”
How green tea helps
The beneficial active ingredient found in green tea is a polyphenol known as epigallocatechin 3-gallate (EGCG).
“EGCG has been shown to be as much as 100 times stronger in antioxidant activity than vitamins C and E,” explains the Arthritis Foundation (AF).
According to the health body, studies have shown it also helps preserve cartilage and bone, although there are no widespread controlled trials of it in people with arthritis.
What to avoid
Some studies suggest a possible link between chronic inflammation and saturated fats found in red meats, full-fat dairy foods, butter and poultry skin.
“Similar suggestions have been made for trans fats, found in hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils, some margarine brands, French fries and other fried foods,” reports Harvard Health.
According to the health body, monounsaturated fats, namely olive oil, seem less likely to increase inflammation.
“So far there are no clinical trials that prove this type of heart-healthy diet is good for arthritis.”
An indirect benefit of eating well is maintaining healthy weight.
If you’re overweight, losing weight can really help you cope with arthritis.
The NHS explains: “Too much weight places excess pressure on the joints in your hips, knees, ankles and feet, leading to increased pain and mobility problems.”
Regular exercise can also aid weight loss, while improving your range of movement and joint mobility, adds the health body.
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