Rheumatoid arthritis treatment: Drink this tea to preserve cartilage and bone
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition, which means it’s caused by the immune system attacking healthy body tissue. As the NHS explains, your immune system normally makes antibodies that attack bacteria and viruses, helping to fight infection. If you have rheumatoid arthritis, your immune system mistakenly sends antibodies to the lining of your joints, where they attack the tissue surrounding the joint.
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According to Mayo Clinic, this causes the thin layer of cells (synovium) covering your joints to become sore and inflamed, releasing chemicals that can eventually destroy the cartilage and bone within the joint.
There is no way of reversing this destructive process but steps can be taken to reduce its impact.
Different dietary items have shown promise in this regard due to their anti-inflammatory properties.
One that boasts such properties is green tea.
According to the Arthritis Foundation (AF), green tea is rich in polyphenols – compounds from plants that have strong anti-inflammatory effects.
Other teas also pack polyphenols but green tea is generally thought to surpass them all because its active ingredient is a polyphenol known as epigallocatechin 3-gallate (EGCG).
“EGCG has been shown to be as much as 100 times stronger in antioxidant activity than vitamins C and E,” explains the AF.
Antioxidants are compounds that fight off free radicals – unstable molecules that are believed to play a role in the inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis.
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According to AF, studies have shown EGCG also helps to preserve cartilage and bone.
An animal study attests to the benefits of the compound found in green tea.
In the study, conducted by a team of researchers at Washington State University (WSU) the compound appeared to reduce ankle swelling in a mouse model of rheumatoid arthritis.
“Our findings provide a rationale for targeting TAK1 for the treatment of RA with EGCG,” said Salah-uddin Ahmed, Ph.D., of the WSU College of Pharmacy and the study’s lead author.
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He noted that other rheumatoid arthritis treatments may be effective but can also damage the immune system in the long run.
Green tea, and in particularly this green tea compound, may be a promising alternative to expensive and potentially harmful RA treatments, the researcher concluded.
In addition to following a healthy diet, exercising regularly can help manage rheumatoid arthritis.
The NHS explains: “Exercising regularly can help relieve stress, help keep your joints mobile, and strengthen the muscles supporting your joints.”
Exercise can also help you lose weight if you’re overweight, which can put extra strain on your joints, notes the health site.
“But it’s important to find a balance between rest and exercise. Rest will make inflamed joints feel more comfortable, but without movement your joints will stiffen and your muscles will become weaker,” says the heart body.
Find the best activities and the right balance for you.
It’s also usually best to increase the amount of exercise you do gradually, adds the NHS.
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