Protein can influence arthritis symptoms

The Asian Age.

Life, Health

The protein you consume daily can significantly impact your arthritis symptoms.

A weak immunity system can increase pain and inflammation. (Photo: Representational/Pexels)

Did you know that the amount of protein you consume can affect symptoms of arthritis? Protein, a nutrient commonly found in legumes, tofu, eggs, nuts, meats, poultry and dairy among others, is made of amino acids. Ongoing studies seem to find a link between protein intake and symptoms of arthritis, like joint inflammation and pain. Researchers are however, divided on how diet can influence arthritis.

Different effects

It’s important to know that the types or quantities of protein you consume have different effects on different types of arthritis. Arthritis is mainly of two types, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. The former is a degenerative condition, and is usually caused by ageing. The latter is an inflammatory condition and usually affects women.

The role of diet

It goes without saying that maintaining a health and balanced diet helps regardless of the type of arthritis. A weak immune system implies that your body is prone to gaining more weight, which will only worsen the pain and inflammation that are accompanied with arthritis. The recommended daily protein intake for women and men above 19 are 46 g and 56 g, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The University of Washington School of Medicine believes that eating a diet low on proteins can lower the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. However, it must be noted that individual bodies react differently to diets, and any changes you make in your food intake must be done after notifying your physician. According to Arthritis Today, a publication of The Arthritis Foundation, increased consumption of omega-6 fatty acids, found prominently in junk food can increase joint inflammation. Consuming omega-3 fatty acids, found in seafood, can help you get the right proteins.

Fat cells in your body produce cytokines, proteins that tend to increase inflammation. Your risk of having osteoarthritis in the knees, for instance, increases if your weight increases. A 2004 study by Massachusetts General Hospital revealed that high consumption of meat and seafood can lead increase the risk of gout in people. Gout refers to an inflammatory condition caused by high levels of uric acid in blood.

What you can do

Your diet plays a crucial role in influencing your arthritis. Maintaining a food journal is a good idea, as it’ll help you keep a tab on what and how much you’re eating. If certain foods elevate your symptoms, try eliminating them. Most importantly, consult your doctor on what you can eat and what you should avoid eating, and see if there’s any improvement in your condition.