Rheumatoid Arthritis: NHS on common signs and symptoms

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When it comes to managing arthritis, one of the main goals is to reduce inflammation. It is widely known that eating plenty of omega-3 acids, which are often found in fatty fish, can help reduce inflammation. And there is one type of seed also high in omega-3.

Chia seeds – the small black seeds of the chia plant – contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids as well as protein, minerals and antioxidants.

They are often consumed as toppings to meals or drinks such as salads, oatmeal and smoothies.

A study by a team at the National Research Centre in Cairo, Egypt, considered the link between eating chia seeds and arthritis.

As part of the research, which was published in the Journal of Basic and Clinical Physiology and Pharmacology, obese and non-obese arthritis rats were given chia seeds oil and mucilage (extract) for 21 days.

The paper concludes: “Results showed that chia seeds oil and mucilage exhibited anti-inflammatory effects against adjuvant-induced arthritis in obese and non-obese rats.”

It explains further: “Natural anti-inflammatory nutraceuticals may be useful in suppressing the incessant aggravation of rheumatoid arthritis.

“Chia seeds as a natural source of antioxidants help prevent several oxidative stress-mediated diseases.

“The current study was focused on arthritis combined with obesity and evaluated the validation of oil and mucilage extracted from chia seeds as anti-inflammatory nutraceuticals in obese and non-obese adjuvant arthritic rat model.”

The use of chia seeds to help ease symptoms of arthritis has been backed by The Arthritis Foundation, which lists it among the best foods for arthritis.

It is argued that they also keep you full for longer, potentially aiding weight loss and reducing strain on the joints

Speaking to the foundation, dietician and nutritionist Marisa Moore says: “Chia seeds are also an excellent source of anti-inflammatory alpha-linoleic acid, but their biggest benefit is probably their high fibre content (about 10 grams per serving), which will fill you up and help control weight”

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis in the UK, affecting nearly nine million people.

Initially, it compromises the smooth cartilage lining of the joint, making movement more difficult and leading to pain and stiffness.

It mainly affects joints in the hands, knees, spine and hips.

The second most common type of arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis, which is when the body’s immune system targets affected joints, causing pain and swelling.

Symptoms of arthritis will depend on what type you have, but can include:

  • Joint pain, tenderness and stiffness
  • Inflammation in and around the joints
  • Restricted movement of the joints
  • Warm red skin over the affected joint
  • Weakness and muscle wasting.

There are certain things that can increase your risk of developing arthritis.

These can include:

  • Wear and tear of a joint
  • Age
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Genetics
  • Injuries
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Muscle weakness.

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