Do you know someone struggling with rheumatoid arthritis, the kind that makes joints ache and swell up? There’s some good news.
A recent study shows that switching to a vegan diet not only relieves that joint pain but also comes with perks like weight loss and better cholesterol levels.
Neal Barnard, a leading doctor in the study, said that for many of the millions dealing with this form of arthritis, eating a plant-based diet might be just what the doctor ordered.
And the best part? The “side effects” include only good things like dropping a few pounds and healthier heart numbers.
The Study: Plants vs. Placebo
To dig deeper into how this works, let’s look at how the study was done. Researchers asked people to rate their joint pain on a simple scale, ranging from “no pain” to “the worst pain you can imagine.”
Then they took some medical measurements to see how active the arthritis was in each person.
44 adults with rheumatoid arthritis were divided into two groups. The first group switched to a vegan diet for 16 weeks. They started by cutting out all animal products for the first four weeks.
Over the next three weeks, they skipped some more foods, and then slowly added them back one by one for the remaining nine weeks to see what might be triggering their symptoms.
The second group kept eating as they always did but took a “dummy pill” every day that didn’t actually do anything.
After the first 16 weeks, the groups switched. So, everyone got a chance to try both the vegan diet and the dummy pill.
The Results: Less Pain, More Gain
So, what happened? When people were on the vegan diet, their arthritis pain went down a lot.
On the pain scale, the scores dropped by two points, which is a big deal. And the number of swollen joints went from an average of 7 down to just over 3.
In the group that just took the dummy pill, the number of swollen joints went up slightly. People who stuck with the vegan diet also saw their pain ratings improve a lot more than those on the dummy pill.
But that’s not all. Those on the vegan diet lost an average of 14 pounds, while the others gained about 2 pounds. The vegan dieters also saw their cholesterol numbers improve, making their hearts happier.
Why It Matters: A Spoonful of Spinach Helps the Medicine Go Down
This study shows us that what you eat can have a powerful impact on your health. Sure, medicine has its place. But sometimes, the change you need could start at the dinner table.
It’s something to think about the next time you’re reaching for a snack. Maybe swap out the chips for some carrot sticks or grab an apple instead of a cookie.
In a world where we’re quick to pop pills for what ails us, it’s refreshing to see that sometimes the answer might be as simple as eating more plants.
So if you’re dealing with achy, swollen joints from rheumatoid arthritis, or you just want to live a healthier life, it might be time to give plants a chance.
If you care about arthritis, please read studies about extra virgin olive oil for arthritis, and pomegranate: A natural treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.
For more information about arthritis, please see recent studies about how to live pain-free with arthritis, and results showing medical cannabis may help reduce arthritis pain, back pain.
The research findings can be found in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine.
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