In general, I find that eating more protein helps increase my energy, something that many of us are sorely lacking when we have RA or a similar disease. And because doctors say you may need more protein when dealing with RA, it is important to get as much of it as possible in your diet. Protein helps build strong bones, cartilage and muscles, all of which can be affected by RA.
Although protein is incredibly important for a healthy individual, it is one of the few vitamins and minerals that is very difficult to supplement. Supplements of the protein variety are typically for those looking to build lean muscle mass and not usually for those who are simply looking to up their protein intake. However, protein bars that can be purchased from grocery stores, drug stores or health stores can serve as a supplement in addition to a diet already rich in protein.
In general, the biggest source of protein for humans and animals is meat, however this doesn’t mean vegetarians have to go without. Your protein intake can be upped with a variety of foods such as cheese, peanuts and other nuts, seeds, seafood, lentils, tofu, yogurt and beans. Ensuring you have adequate protein (your doctor can help you decide what is the best amount for you), will help ensure that you keep your bones, muscles and cartilage healthy and in tact.
Vitamin B is also helpful for those suffering from low energy and helps the nervous system function. It can also boost metabolism. Vitamin B is divided into several different categories, such as B12, B6, B3, B2 and B1. In order to boost your energy, you can take a vitamin B-complex supplement in the form of a pill, as vitamin B complex refers to all eight forms of the vitamin.
However, there are a few vitamin B rich foods that you can add to your diet in order to naturally keep your energy up. These include bananas, yeast, whole grains, potatoes, legumes and chilli peppers. Meat in general also provides a good source of vitamin B, in addition to protein.
Lastly, omega 3 fatty acids can help lubricate your joints and ease morning stiffness. Omega 3 fatty acids are found most often in fish oil, which explains why many people with RA are given fish oil pills to compensate for this. Your doctor will likely prescribe a fish oil supplement to help with joint pain and movement. Additionally, Omega 3 fatty acids can be found in walnuts, salmon, flaxseeds, tofu, beef, shrimp, soybeans and sardines.
Although taking supplements is generally considered safe, it is important to speak with your rheumatologist or family doctor before beginning any new regime. This way, you can ensure you are getting the correct level of vitamins for your body.