Rheumatoid Arthritis: NHS on common signs and symptoms
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Millions of people in the UK are currently living with arthritis and other joint problems. The condition can cause pain, swelling and inflammation, as well as mobility issues. Although there is no cure yet for arthritis, there are ways to manage the symptoms.
Like many health conditions, diet can play a part in easing or worsening the condition.
Health body the Physicians Committee has warned against certain foods, which can act as “pain triggers”.
It said: “While genetic factors are important, studies show that lifestyle factors, including diet, play a role.
“If you have rheumatoid arthritis, a diet change could help you, and perhaps even eliminate your pain entirely. In research studies, many people who cut out certain trigger foods find that their pain improves or goes away.
“The reason, presumably, is that certain foods spark inflammation in the joints.
“When those foods are gone, so is the inflammation.
“A survey of more than 1,000 arthritis patients revealed that red meat, sugar, fat, salt, caffeine, and nightshade plants most commonly worsen the condition.”
It lists apples and tomatoes as “common pain triggers” to avoid.
Both apples and tomatoes contain solanine, a glycoalkaloid poison mainly found in species of the nightshade family.
One study, published in the Arab Journal of Nuclear Sciences and Applications in 2013, considered the link between solanine and arthritis.
“Solanine is a toxic compound produced in nightshades family such as potato, tomato and eggplant when exposed to light,” it explained.
“The current study was carried out on 18 female postmenopausal albino rats to investigate the effect of solanine on the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.”
The study concluded: “The data of the present study showed that old age and postmenopausal suffering from arthritis and joint swollen must eliminate or avoid the nightshades plants to alleviate the joint pain and also decrease the destruction of the tissues.”
However, this claim has been questioned by other health bodies.
The Arthritis Society Canada recommended seeing how your body reacts to foods containing solanine.
“Though research hasn’t identified a connection between nightshades and inflammation, some people with arthritis report a worsening of symptoms after eating nightshade vegetables and fruit,” it said.
“If you think that nightshades are affecting your symptoms or otherwise making you feel unwell, you can try eliminating them from your diet for two weeks.
“Slowly reintroduce foods one at a time two or three days apart.”
Other foods containing solanine include:
Arthritis symptoms include:
- Joint pain, tenderness and stiffness
- Inflammation in and around the joints
- Restricted movement of the joints
- Warm red skin over the affected joint
- Weakness and muscle wasting.
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