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Cracking the pain code: Eggs are a powerhouse for rheumatoid arthritis
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Cracking the pain code: Eggs are a powerhouse for rheumatoid arthritis

Rich in protein and other essential nutrients, eggs should be an indispensable part of the diet for those with the condition
Eggs can help ease the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis
Eggs contain anti-inflammatory properties that prevent joint inflammation and pain.

Inflammation, pain and joint discomfort are invariant aspects for those living with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Among the different measures available to address the condition, a nutritious diet is crucial. Speaking of which, an essential food item for those with RA is eggs. Contrary to popular belief, eggs can play a vital role in easing the symptoms of the condition; the anti-inflammatory properties they possess help keep inflammation at bay, say experts. This is backed by research as well. A review published in the journal Nutrients states that bioactive components like phospholipids, cholesterol, lutein and zeaxanthin present in eggs contain anti-inflammatory properties, which can significantly impact the pathophysiology of chronic ailments.

“Eggs are a proper form of nutrition. They’re not only rich in vitamins and proteins but also have good water content along with being rich in good and unsaturated fatty acids,” says Dr Harman Singh, consultant rheumatologist at Fortis Hospital, Kalyan, Mumbai. “Eggs also contain anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. The anti-inflammatory properties lower the radical oxygens present in those with RA.”

In the case of RA, as the joints degenerate, support from the muscles becomes essential. To strengthen the muscles, the regeneration of protein in the body is important. “Eggs, being a good source of protein, are nicely absorbed in the body. They also help build good gut flora,” shares Dr Singh. “However, they should not be consumed raw. Boiled eggs are the best because the [chemical] bonds inside the protein are denaturalized, which leads to easy digestion and absorption. In the case of an omelet or curry, the proteins get damaged.”

Are egg yolks beneficial for rheumatoid arthritis?

It is a common perception that egg yolks should be avoided as they contain cholesterol. However, experts say they’re rich in essential nutrients like vitamin D, which help manage RA. A dip in the sunshine vitamin (vitamin D) levels can worsen the symptoms, including stiffness and joint pain. “Egg yolk contains nutrients like vitamins A, D, E, K, B1, B5, B6 and B9,” informs Dr Singh. “It also has choline, which is very important for neurotransmission as it helps in nerve regeneration and bone strength. The food that has a higher choline content than eggs is beef, which is not consumed by much of the Indian population.” However, those with conditions like hypertension or cardiovascular issues should have eggs in strict moderation.

Eggs and rheumatoid arthritis: Debunking myths

There are many who cite the protein content of eggs as the reason for worsening arthritis symptoms. “The general population has the misconception that proteins worsen RA. But what people don’t understand is that egg protein is not the one that increases uric acid,” elaborates Dr Singh. “It is a good protein. As a result, eggs can also be consumed by individuals with gout. In our Indian diet, we don’t consume much protein anyway. So, eggs should be part of the diet.”

Diet for rheumatoid arthritis

A healthy diet to address rheumatoid arthritis should include fresh vegetables, fruits and good sources of protein like eggs, paneer, tofu and fish. One must opt for whole grains like millet, jowar, bajra and ragi instead of wheat.

Additionally, it’s crucial to avoid refined and processed foods such as maida, sugar and canned products.

Takeaways

  • Contrary to popular belief, eggs are crucial for managing rheumatoid arthritis. Besides being rich in nutrients like vitamin D, they also contain anti-inflammatory properties that prevent joint inflammation and pain.
  • Egg yolks also contain choline, which helps strengthen the nerves and bones.
  • The protein present in eggs doesn’t increase uric acid. It’s considered a good protein and can be consumed by people with gout or any other form of arthritis.

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