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According to a new study, a low-fat vegan diet without calorie restrictions can improve joint pain in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

Source: Physicians Committee/Youtube

The study was published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine and conducted by researchers with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. They asked participants to use a visual analog scale (VAS) to rate the severity of their worst joint pain for two weeks ranging from “no pain” to “pain as bad as it could possibly be.”

Each participant’s Disease Activity Score-28 (DAS28) was calculated based on tender joints, swollen joints, and C-reactive protein values, which indicate the inflammation in the body. The DAS28 will increase as the rheumatoid arthritis symptoms get more severe.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes joint pain, swelling, and permanent joint damage. According to Healthline, out of every 100,000 people, 71 are diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis every year, and nearly 1.5 million Americans have RA.

Source: 3D4Medical From Elsevier/Youtube

During the study, 44 adults with rheumatoid arthritis were split into two groups for 16 weeks. The first group followed a strictly vegan diet for four weeks, followed by the elimination of additional foods for three weeks, then finally a reintroduction of the eliminated foods over nine weeks. The second group followed an unrestricted diet and took a daily placebo capsule. Then, the groups switched diets for 16 weeks.

The study found that during the vegan phase, the DAS28 scores decreased two points on average, meaning there was less joint pain compared to the 0.3 point decrease in the placebo group. The average swollen joint score also decreased, while the number for the non-vegans increased.

“A plant-based diet could be the prescription to alleviate joint pain for millions of people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis,” Neal Barnard, MD, lead author of the study and president of the Physicians Committee, said. “And all of the side effects, including weight loss and lower cholesterol, are only beneficial.”

Those on the vegan diet saw other benefits as well. Many had significant reductions in total LDL and HDL cholesterol during the vegan phase, as well as decreased weight on the plant-based diet. There’s no denying that a vegan diet is the best choice for your health, the environment, and the animals!

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Learn How to Cook Plant-Based Meals at Home

Reducing your meat intake and eating more plant-based foods is known to help with chronic inflammationheart healthmental wellbeingfitness goalsnutritional needsallergiesgut health, and more! Unfortunately, dairy consumption also has been linked to many health problems, including acnehormonal imbalancecancerprostate cancer, and has many side effects.

For those interested in eating more plant-based, we highly recommend purchasing one of our many plant-based cookbooks or downloading the Food Monster App, which has thousands of delicious recipes, making it the largest vegan recipe resource to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy! And while you are at it, we encourage you to also learn about the environmental and health benefits of a plant-based diet.

Here are some resources to get you started:

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