Living with rheumatoid arthritis is hard. You spend all your time worrying about whether you are going to have a flare-up or whether you are going to be able to get on with the plans you made. Taking pills is just a normal part of the process, but that does not mean you want it to be.
What if you could find a way to minimize the flare-ups and pain of the condition? What if you could reduce the inflammation in your joints? It is possible, and you do not need to rely on medication that you could end up addicted to.
The benefits can come from the food you eat. Many doctors recommend changing your diet to help support and heal your condition. This 7-day meal plan will help get you started with a healthier lifestyle to support your health.
Focus on More Anti-Inflammatory Foods
Why does this meal plan work so much? Well, it is all about the foods that you eat. The meal plan is packed with ingredients that will help reduce the inflammation in the body. It is inflammation that is causing most of your rheumatoid arthritis. This is a natural immune system response but for the wrong reasons. Your immune system thinks there is something to attack, but there is not.
Most of the time, it is something in your food or the environment. You cannot get rid of all the pollutants in the air, so you need to do something to get rid of the bad foods in your food.
It is time to pull back on the carbohydrate-rich and sugary foods. You want inflammation-fighting recipes, packed with natural and nutrient-filled ingredients.
Your 7-Day Meal Plan for Women with Rheumatoid Arthritis
The meals do not have to be eaten in this order. The meal plan is just the start to help you figure out a diet that is filling, sustainable, and RA-friendly. One of the best things about the recipes is that they are low in calories, so they will also help with weight loss. Gaining weight is a normal part of RA because you feel like you cannot exercise as much.
Feel free to mix and match the days to suit you. You may even get some inspiration for the types of recipes to search for moving forward.
Breakfast: Cherry and Coconut Porridge
One of the best ways to start the day is with porridge. Make your oatmeal for all the fibrous goodness. You will feel full and satisfied for longer in the day than if you had a carby breakfast. The porridge will also help to support your digestive system, making it easier to absorb the nutrients you get from your diet.
Instead of adding sugar on top, opt for some coconut and cherries. They are deliciously sweet, making it seem like you have got your traditional sugar-laden breakfast.
The cherries can be fresh or dry, but you want to find ones that are as tart as possible. Cherries get their redness from anthocyanin, an antioxidant that helps to reduce inflammation in the body. Meanwhile, coconut is packed with unsaturated fats. They help to improve lubrication while supporting the liver to remove the toxins from the body.
Lunch: Spicy Pumpkin Soup
This is a lunch to have when the nights draw darker. It is warm, filling, and easy to make. You can pop it in the slow-cooked, so it is ready for you when you get home.
The rheumatoid arthritis benefits are in the pumpkin. This vegetable is packed with antioxidants known as beta-cryptoxanthin. These antioxidants offer anti-inflammatory properties that directly remove the reason for your arthritis.
Beta-cryptoxanthin work best when they have some fat in a meal, which is why creating soup with some oil or butter is best. Opt for unsaturated fats to support the rest of your health. The healthy fats will also help to support your weight loss efforts.
Why add spice? Well, this will help to increase your body temperature and aid with the boost to your metabolism. You can find it easier for your body to absorb the nutrients while aiding with weight loss. When you take the pressure off the joints, the inflammation from your condition may not be as bad.
Dinner: Potato Curry and Poached Eggs
This dish does not instantly sound that appetizing, but it is something worth considering for your rheumatoid arthritis meal plan. The benefits come from both main ingredients.
Eggs are traditionally eaten for breakfast, but they are good for your body throughout the day. The protein in the eggs will help to support your tissue and muscle health. This helps your joint health and can help to repair some of the damage from rheumatoid arthritis. You can also reduce the chance of the pain being as intense in your body.
Eggs are also packed with omega-3 fatty acids. These are known for their anti-inflammatory benefits, although they are mostly linked with tuna and oily fish for the brain. Well, now you get another benefit from them.
As for the potato curry, the spices will help to boost your metabolism and increase your body temperature. Potatoes are also packed with starchy carbs, to help you feel fuller and support the metabolizing of other nutrients. You will find it harder to absorb all the nutrients. Do not forget to add onions and garlic to your curry. They have extra anti-inflammatory properties to offer additional support.
Breakfast: Red Fruit Smoothie
Raspberry smoothies are an excellent way to start the day, but you can also start with other red fruits. Try a strawberry or cherry smoothie. It is important that you pack your smoothie with the red fruits for the anthocyanin antioxidants. These are the antioxidants that give the fruits their color and help to reduce inflammation considerably in the body.
The antioxidants will also help to improve the health of the cells. Repairing some of the damage done is possible.
On top of this, you get the protein from your yogurt or milk (whichever you choose to use). The proteins will support the health of your muscles and nutrients, like the proteins in eggs in the dinner the night before.
Of course, a major benefit of this recipe is that you can grab and go. Pop your smoothie into a travel mug and drink it on the way to work. Opt for unsweetened yogurt to remove the unnecessary and inflammation-causing sugars.
Lunch: Greek Tuna Salad
It is time to get a taste of the Mediterranean in your diet. After all, people in the Mediterranean are among the healthiest in the world.
Adding a Greek Tuna salad to your rheumatoid arthritis will help you cut down on all the inflammation in your body. You get plenty of omega-3s through the tuna, olives, and capers. You can also get plenty of fiber through whole grain bread if you choose to have a slice with your salad.
Make sure your tuna is low sodium. You want to cut down on the amount of salt you add to your diet.
Dinner: Turkey Chili
Why not make a delicious chili for those cold winter nights? You can put all the ingredients in a slow cooker, so it is ready for you when you get home.
Turkey is one of the best meats you can consume. You get plenty of protein for muscle and joint health while adding nutrients that make you feel fuller for longer. Minced turkey is also lean, unlike most minced beef and pork.
Kidney beans will give you all the fiber you need for the meal. The fiber supports the digestive system to make sure all the nutrients are absorbed. Make sure the kidney beans are low sodium to avoid unnecessarily added salt. High salt foods will make your rheumatoid arthritis worse, as well as affect your kidney health.
Top the dish with some Greek yogurt or some avocado for more healthy goodness.
Breakfast: Gingerbread Oatmeal
We have already looked at how oatmeal is good for you, but you do not just want to eat it plain. Well, gingerbread-flavored oatmeal is worth considering. You just need some ginger, walnuts, and little brown sugar.
The walnuts are full of omega-3 fatty acids for better joint health. You will get rid of the inflammation that is causing the problem. The ginger can also help to reduce inflammation and support your immune system against other ailments.
This is something you can make the night before. Just heat it up the next morning.
Lunch: Kale and Chicken Wrap
You want to stock up on leafy greens when fighting against any arthritis. Kale particularly is packed with multiple vitamins and minerals, including calcium, iron, and magnesium. These nutrients will help to support the health of your bones and muscles, improving the health of the tissues, and protecting against inflammation.
Then you get the protein from the chicken, aiding with muscle and tissue strength. Use chicken breast that is skinless to keep all protein lean.
Tortilla wraps are not that unhealthy for you when used in moderation. If you do have a problem with gluten, you can get gluten-free options but watch out for the added sugars in them!
Dinner: Baked Cod with Rosemary and Pecans
Many of us have a selenium deficiency, but that is easily rectified. Did you know that a selenium deficiency can make your rheumatoid arthritis worse? All you need to do is add a few pecans or Brazil nuts to your diet. Crush some pecans and mix with rosemary to sprinkle on top of your baked cod.
The fish will help to improve the levels of omega 3 in your diet, as well as protein. It is a quick fish to bake, making it one of the easiest dinners to prep and cook when you get in from work. You do not need to bread your fish, but you can. Try Panko breadcrumbs for a healthier alternative to support your RA.
Breakfast: Apple and Rhubarb Muffins
Sometimes you want something that you can bake in advance and have ready for you on the day. Making some muffins is the best option. They will store for around five days so that you can make these at the start of the week. Get the kids involved, too!
Ginger is a delicious addition to your apple and rhubarb muffins. It is dairy and gluten free while offering anti-inflammatory benefits.
Lunch: Fruit Salad
Fruit salads are not just for snacks. They can be delicious as a meal and will help your rheumatoid arthritis. It is time to consider making one for your lunch on day four.
Choose fruits from the season. They are packed with more nutrients and taste, helping your joints and your mind. You can make a fruity dressing, but keep it separate until you are ready to eat your salad. The dressing will make your fruit salad soggy otherwise.
Dinner: Stuffed Red Peppers
Red peppers are full of beta-carotene, vitamin C, and many other nutrients. They all help to support the health of the cells, regenerating them when they have suffered damage from your health condition. It is time to use them whole and stuff them for a filling and new meal.
You can make an Italian-style tomato-based sauce for your peppers. Opt for some turkey mince for extra protein, while the tomatoes offer extra vitamin C, beta-carotene, and other antioxidants for improved health.
Breakfast: Granola with Ginger and Almond Milk
Sometimes you want something that is dairy free on a morning. The sugars in dairy can lead to flare-ups on your bad days. Opt for almond or soy milk instead. You still get the healthy proteins and calcium without the lactose.
Use it for your granola and add a little bit of ginger. The ginger offers the anti-inflammatory properties, while the granola will offer fiber to keep you full throughout the day.
Lunch: Sweet Potato and Red Pepper Soup
Again, it is time for soup to warm you up through the day. When you feel satisfied and warm from a meal, your whole body reacts. Your brain can release all the right chemicals to make you feel happy and reduce inflammation within your body.
Sweet potato soup offers many of the same benefits as pumpkin soup. There is a slightly sweeter benefit, which will help to curb some of your sweet cravings.
Try roasted red peppers to add to the soup. While you can buy jarred ones, homemade ones are healthier for your rheumatoid arthritis.
Dinner: Lemon Herb Salmon
Salmon is one of the best fishes you can eat. It is packed with healthy oils that will help to reduce inflammation and support your break health. Pack with a range of your favorite herbs and a little lemon to gain more flavor and other health benefits. You can get more vitamin C and antioxidants to support your cell health.
Do not forget to serve with a side of vegetables. Sweet potatoes and courgettes tend to work well.
Breakfast: Mushroom and Spinach Frittata
We have already looked at why eggs are so good, and you can have them in so many ways. Frittatas are filling and quick to make.
The mushrooms and spinach will add to taste, while offering other nutrients that support the health of your joints. You will get more calcium, magnesium, and fiber to keep your whole body in check. It is the best way to reduce inflammation and keep flare-ups at bay.
Lunch: Smoked Salmon and Potato Tartine
Smoked salmon is just as good as unsmoked for the omega-3s. You also get plenty of flavor in every single bite. While potatoes have carbs, they are starchy carbs for a healthy dish.
If you are not a fan of smoked salmon, you can have unsmoked instead. Tuna is another filling option.
Add a side salad or some soup for a filling dish in the middle of your day.
Dinner: Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burgers
If you want burgers without all the unhealthy fat and ingredients that cause inflammation, you will want to grate some sweet potatoes and crush some black beans. Mixed they give you a taste, inflammation-fighting patty that you can use just like normal burgers. The benefit is the extra beta-carotene and vitamin C that you would get with minced beef!
Serve the burgers with whole grain bread to help avoid the extra sugars. Pita bread is an excellent alternative.
Breakfast: Banana and Egg Pancakes
Try some delicious pancakes for your Sunday morning breakfast. Instead of adding all the refined flours and grains, opt for these two-ingredient, weight loss-friendly pancakes. You can choose the number of bananas and eggs you add, depending on your taste preferences but a ratio of 1:1 is a good place to start.
The bananas are filling, creamy, and packed with potassium to help your electrolyte levels. You will find it much easier to use up the macronutrients for energy, so you fight against inflammation. The bananas also mean you do not need to add extra flavor toppings.
Mash the bananas and combine with the eggs. Then just make your pancakes as you would normal pancakes.
Lunch: Squash and Red Lentil Stew
You can use any squash you want. They all offer a range of nutrients that will support the reduction of inflammation in your body. Red lentils are packed with proteins for the health of your muscles and tissue.
Make some of this stew ahead of time and stock in the freezer. You can heat up quickly for lunch.
Dinner: Turkey and Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
Pull out the stuffed peppers again, but this time with a slightly different filling. Turkey and quinoa are complete proteins, offering more support for your muscles and joints compared to the likes of lentils, chickpeas, and other non-meat proteins. The stuffing is also extremely filling and fibrous, helping to reduce inflammation in the body.
If you do not want red peppers again, opt for orange or yellow peppers. They are packed with antioxidants more than green.
It is Time to Follow Your Rheumatoid Arthritis Friendly Meal Plan
The meal plan above will give you a range of ideas to get started. All the ingredients will support the health of your joints in some way. Start mixing and matching to create a delicious meal plan you can follow each week. You will soon find flare-ups reduce, and you can enjoy life once more.