At lot has been written about the pros and cons of eating red meat over the last few years. On the plus side, red meat is a rich source of protein, iron, B12, and zinc. On the negative side, a new study conducted by British researchers suggests that red meat can increase your chances of developing rheumatoid arthritis.
Dr. Dorothy Pattison and colleagues asked 260 people — a third of whom had inflammatory arthritis in at least two joints — to keep a detailed food diary for seven days.
It was found that participants who ate the most red meat were more than twice as likely to have inflammatory arthritis. A total of 58 grams of red meat per day was consumed by 42% of the inflammatory arthritis patients. Those who combined red meat with other meats also had a higher risk of developing inflammatory arthritis.
However, it was also found that red meat wasn’t the only cause of an increased risk. Those participants who ate the most protein (more than 75 grams a day) almost tripled their risk of inflammatory arthritis compared with those with the lowest protein intake (less than 62 grams).
However, this doesn’t necessarily make meat in and of itself the culprit. Other factors may be at play. The researchers have concluded in the medical journal Arthritis & Rheumatism that: “There is no evidence as to what might be important in relation to rheumatoid arthritis.” It could be that red meat and other proteins contain collagen or additives, or other infectious agents.
One thing that is known about rheumatoid arthritis and dietary influences is that people who rarely eat fruit and have low levels of vitamin C are up to three times more likely to develop inflammatory arthritis.
If you’re wondering if there is a prescribed menu that eliminates rheumatoid arthritis, scientists have yet to come up with one. However, what is available is a list of the most commonly observed vitamin and mineral deficiencies in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Here they are:
— Folic acid — Vitamin C — Calcium — Zinc — Selenium
It is preferable to get these nutrients in the foods you eat. Folic acid (vitamin B9) can be found in leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits, and legumes (such as lentils). Vitamin C can be found in all fruits and vegetables. You can get calcium from dairy products, salmon, sardines, spinach, and kale. Some of the foods highest in zinc include oysters, whole grains, nuts and peanut butter, peas, and mozzarella or cheddar cheese. And finally eat fish, whole grains, mushrooms, wheat germ, and garlic to make sure you are getting enough selenium.