Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a painful, chronic autoimmune disease that afflicts the young and old alike. The wide-spreading rheumatoid arthritis can ravage the entire body with inflammation that affects the heart, lungs and eyes in addition to finger and toe joints. RA is characterized by stiff, swollen, red joints, and those who suffer with the disease often experience fatigue, weight loss and low-grade fevers. Genetics play the biggest role in determining who is afflicted with rheumatoid arthritis, but whether a person is genetically predisposed to the painful disease or not, there are things that can be done to reduce the risk of developing RA.
Olive Oil Reduces the Risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Olive oil has a high concentrate of monounsaturated fatty acids, and is especially high in oleic acid which helps protect the joints against inflammation. By using olive oil in the daily diet as a replacement for saturated fats (lard, butter, coconut oil, etc.) the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis is significantly reduced. Three tablespoons per day of olive oil protects against joint inflammation (which reduces RA risks and the pain of those who already have RA) but take into account the amount of calories (about 600) that three tablespoons of olive oil has when planning daily calorie intake, extra weight increases the risk of and the pain of rheumatoid arthritis.
Sunshine Reduces Risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis
When skin is exposed to sunshine, it causes the body to make it’s own vitamin D for building and strengthening bones. Getting enough vitamin D is essential for overall health and to reduce the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. A little sun exposure without the use of sunscreen, 15 minutes three times per week is all that’s needed to ensure the body is making (or receiving) enough vitamin D. Drinking milk or orange juice that is fortified with vitamin D or taking a vitamin D supplement are also beneficial options to reduce RA risk.
A Little Alcohol Goes a Long Way
A recent Swedish study revealed that consuming a little alcohol (three drinks per week) significantly reduces the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. The alcohol is believed to reduce the inflammatory process that is at the root of RA.
Rheumatoid arthritis is unfortunately not a completely preventable disease, but the risk factors can be reduced by replacing saturated fat with olive oil, getting a little sunshine and imbibing just a little.