Overcoming Rheumatism with Proper Nutrition

For inflammatory rheumatic diseases, it is advised to resort to vegetable foods and low-fat dairy products. By dispensing with meat and sausage products the complaints can be alleviated. However, it has not been medically proven how a plant-based diet influences the rheumatic disease. The AOK Hessen informs about the known facts.

Rheumatism is an autoimmune disease. The immune system attacks structures of the own body. The cause of the disease is thought to be both genetic causes and food allergies and intolerances. In particular, so-called inflammatory mediators such as arachidonic acid are suspected of causing rheumatism. The body forms it itself to initiate and sustain inflammatory responses. However, arachidonic acids are also commonly found in a variety of animal products, e.g. in meat, sausage, egg and fat-rich dairy products.

Medicine associates a plant-based diet with a beneficial effect against inflammatory rheumatic diseases [1]. When animal products are avoided, the body absorbs less pro-inflammatory substances through the diet. Dairy products should be supplemented in a reduced-fat version. They contain little arachidonic acid, but valuable protein and calcium. Fresh fruits and vegetables contain important micronutrients as well as vitamins and antioxidants. These can inhibit inflammation and provide a helpful counterpart for the oxygen radicals that act in the body during rheumatism.

In addition, smoking should be avoided and alcohol consumed only in small amounts. However, it should be noted that a change in diet does not cure the disease and can not replace therapy. It rather serves the body as a relief and can counteract the causes of the disease. The individual therapy options and a diet change should always be discussed with a specialist.