Although our joints make our life a lot easier, until we have a problem we don’t realize that we must protect them. However, when our joints experience a severe disease such as rheumatoid arthritis our whole world might turn upside down. A painful process such as hip or spine fractures and even death might be experienced due to an impaired immune system where the body destroys its own cells.

Samsun Ondokuz Mayıs University Head of the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Prof. Dr. Ömer Kuru says that people could protect their joints by consuming calcium, Omega 3, and vitamin C rich foods; however, since it is genetic there isn’t a chance to be protected from rheumatoid arthritis. Kuru remarks that at least some foods help to live a more quality of life to those patients.

Stating that a quality of life is what the patients need the most, Kuru says, “It is a disease that especially causes deformation of bursas that hold small joints of our hands and feet. You cannot use your joints that have this disease, you cannot open jar lids, button your shirts or tie your child’s shoes. If you have a genetic susceptibility for this disease what triggers it the most is smoking. You should first quit smoking.”

Preparing a menu special for these patients at Electrolux Professional Studio for Raillife readers, Kuru explains:

What type of a diet would you recommend for rheumatoid patients to relieve their discomfort?
Many researches suggest that Mediterranean diet reduces joint aches and discomfort. Especially Omega 3 rich foods play a big role in this. They should consume fish such as anchovies, salmon, sardines, mackerels. Eat walnuts and flax seeds. We don’t wish our patients to gain weight. Each gram gained puts extra pressure on your joints. Stay away from carbohydrates, and sugar. We do not suggest eating bread but whole wheat bread may be eaten without going over the board. Stay away from salt, too. One third of these patients are also suffering from hypertension. They shouldn’t consume foods that increase blood pressure.

Do patients suffer from other diseases due to the side effects of the medication?

Unfortunately. Sixty percent of our patients have anemia. Foods such as beets, lentils, beans, spinach, lettuce, and cabbages are rich from folic acid and they are antioxidants. Thyme, dill, parsley, basil, arugula, mint, garlic, water cress, onion, red pepper, black pepper, ginger, cumin, cinnamon are also antioxidants. The medication might cause stomach ulcers. Therefore, the patients should stay away some sour foods.

What other foods may be chosen?
We suggest a diet rich in calcium, vitamin C and D. The medication might also cause to osteoporosis. Therefore, milk and milk products should be consumed. Red peppers, ginger, turmeric may also be used. Fiber rich foods should be consumed. Mulberry is high in fiber. We also recommend yogurt soups and plenty of fluid intakes. Choose broiling or baking over deep-frying.

What do you suggest other than a healthy diet?
Our patients usually avoid moving their joints because it is painful. However, we suggest exercise.

Fish Kabobs
Yogurt Soup

500 gr. fillet of fish, 1 onion, 5-6 bay leaves, 1 tbsp olive oil, 5-6 firm tomatoes, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 5-6 green peppers, salt, black pepper.
Directions: Cut the fillet of fish in cubes as big as walnuts. Salt and pepper. Add olive oil, lemon juice, juice of the onion, and bay leaves and mix. Marinate 3-4 hours. Skewer them placing in between sliced tomatoes, onions, and green peppers. Charbroil those 10-15 minutes turning sides. Serve with lemon and olive oil sauce.

2 cups of yogurt, 6 cups of boiling water, 1 tea glass of rice, 2 tbsp of olive oil, little bit of butter, 1 tbsp of dried mint, salt.
Directions: Place yogurt into the pot and stir it well. Add the rice and cook until it comes to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the boiling water into the pot. Add salt when it gets closer to another boil. In a saucepan melt little bit of butter and add the dried mint into it, sauté them for a short time. Pour this mixture over the soup right before serving.