Diet to Follow If You Have Raynaud’s Disease!

Diet to Follow If You Have Raynaud’s Disease!

Ramya is looking for job relocation to Mumbai or Chennai. She is unable to bear Delhi winters where she is currently working in an MNC. Reason- she is diagnosed with Raynaud’s disease.

Her fingers become very cold and go numb during winters. They go all white in the cold weather. She is unable to write or do any work with her hands. 

Her doctor diagnosed this condition as Raynaud’s disease. It gets triggered by exposure to cold temperature in individuals afflicted with it.

She is advised to avoid extreme cold weather till her treatment is on. She wants to relocate to a place with a warmer climate to keep its symptoms to the minimum.

What is Raynaud’s disease?

Raynaud’s disease is also referred to as Raynaud’s syndrome or Raynaud’s phenomenon. You may be diagnosed with this phenomenon if you have the following symptoms:

  • Toes or fingers become cold on exposure to low temperature or stress.
  • Other parts of your body can also get affected in some cases like ears, lips, nose or nipples in some cases.
  • Colour of the skin changes due to exposure to cold temperature. The skin may turn white, then turn blue and later change its colour to red.
  • When you warm your numbed body parts, they may swell up, become red.
  • When the blood circulation returns to the affected parts, you may experience tingling sensation, throbbing or stinging pain.

Who is prone to Raynaud’s disease?

Men are less likely to develop symptoms of Raynaud’s disease as compared to women. People living in cold areas are prone to developing this condition.

What triggers Raynaud’s disease?

It is discovered that sensitivity of nerves to cold causes this condition to occur. The blood vessels go into spasm upon exposure to cold temperature or stressful environments.

This makes the affected body parts like toes or fingers go numb due to constricted blood flow. When the blood circulation to affected body parts is restored by warming the area, the skin may change colour from white to blue to eventually red.

Other factors that may contribute to Raynaud’s phenomenon symptoms to appear are:

  • Emotional stress.
  • Regular intake of nicotine due to smoking.
  • Working with tools that vibrate for a long period of time.
  • Medical history related to autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, mixed connective tissue disease or scleroderma may trigger Raynaud’s disease.

How can you manage Raynaud’s disease?

Raynaud’s disease symptoms can be treated once the doctor identifies whether you have primary or secondary Raynaud’s. This is determined by conducting a test called capillaroscopy.

In this test, the base of your nails is examined by the doctor to check the skin and small arteries. Post this examination the doctor may suggest blood tests like Erythrocyte sedimentation rate and antinuclear antibodies test.

The physician recommends these tests to rule out any anomaly in the arterial function. There is no direct test to diagnose Raynaud’s phenomenon.

 The symptoms can be managed by limiting the conditions that may trigger Raynaud’s attack. There are various methods that you may adopt on the advice of your physician:

  1. Medication: The doctor may prescribe medication to dilate your blood vessels and enhance blood circulation. This prescription depends on the severity and cause of the Raynaud’s attack.

  2. Sympathectomy: The physician may conduct a nerve surgery called Sympathectomy to counter the symptoms of Raynaud’s disease.

    This surgery helps in reducing the frequency of Raynaud’s attack and also reduces the time duration of its occurrence.

  3. Alternative therapy: You may ease symptoms of Raynaud’s syndrome by taking acupuncture treatment by an experienced practitioner. The Acupuncturist will restore the flow of energy and improve your blood circulation. This will alleviate constriction of blood vessels and prevent or reduce painful condition of Raynaud’s disease.

  4. Raynaud’s treatment diet plan: Raynaud’s treatment diet can play a major role in controlling the symptoms and preventing Raynaud's attack.

    You may consult your physician to create a diet plan for yourself. It will help prevent and counter Raynaud’s attack. A well planned diet will keep your body warm and prevent your blood vessels from constricting.

What diet should you follow if you have Raynaud’s disease?

Raynaud’s treatment diet includes certain foods that you include in your meals and others that you should completely steer clear of to avoid triggering its symptoms.

Best foods for Raynaud’s disease

  1. Ginkgo biloba: Intake of this herb helps open up arteries and increases the circulation of blood in the body. This reduces the painful experience of Raynaud’s attack. 

    It is necessary to consult your specialist before taking this herb.

    Contraindication- Pregnant women, people on other medication especially for thinning blood, or people with a history of seizure occurrence should avoid its intake.

  2. Fish oil: Adding fish oil or its supplement to your diet may help counter the symptoms of primary Raynaud’s disease. It helps open up your blood vessels. 

    Do make sure your physician has advised you to take it after considering your medical history and current symptoms.

    Contraindication- Not advised for people who take medicine for blood thinning and people who have secondary Raynaud’s disease.

  3. Cinnamon: Cinnamon helps in keeping your body warm. It will prevent triggering Raynaud’s attack in a cold environment.

    You may add cinnamon powder to smoothies made with milk and banana, almond milk, milk and mango. You may add it to cookies, curries, tea, soup, porridge or yoghurt.

    You may go for foods to which cinnamon is already added like breakfast cereals, oatmeal and bakery products.

  4. Cayenne: Cayenne peppers have a spicy quality. It helps keep your body warm and prevents triggering of Raynaud’s attack.

    It contains capsaicin that aids in reducing pain due to nerve condition like Raynaud’s disease.

    You may add it easily to your home cooked recipes in the form of dried powder. You can also sprinkle it on top of salads, soups, dips or eggs.

    Contraindication- If you have allergy to capsaicin, have ulcer or acid reflux, avoid adding it to your meal. Consult your physician to know how much of cayenne is good for your constitution.

  5. Mustard: Mustard is a great source of calcium and omega 3 fatty acids. It helps prevent narrowing down of arteries by removing deposition of plaque on the arteries. 

    Adding mustard to your daily diet lowers the risk of triggering Raynaud’s symptoms.

    Mustard can be added to your dishes while cooking or you may use products that already contain mustard like mayonnaise, pickles, salad dressings, pesto, and tomato ketchup.

  6. Vitamin E: Vitamin E should be added to your diet plan. Almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts, soybean oil, sunflower oil, bell pepper (red), spinach, asparagus, beet greens, avocado, mango are full of vitamin E.

    You may include these to your Raynaud’s syndrome diet.

    Contraindication: Excess of vitamin E may increase your risk of bleeding. Consult your doctor for the right amount of vitamin E that can be added to your meal plan.

  7. Omega 3 fatty acids: Include foods loaded with omega 3 fatty acids to enhance arterial health. They help in prevention of narrowing of blood vessels.

    Rich sources of omega 3 fatty acids are nuts and seeds like flaxseed, walnuts, and chia seeds. Oils like canola oil, fish oil, cod liver oil, soybean oil and flaxseed oil are a storehouse of omega 3 fatty acids.

    Seafood can also be added to Raynaud's syndrome diet plan. You may include sardines, tuna, salmon and herring to your meals.

  8. Calcium: Foods that are rich in calcium content are recommended in Raynaud’s treatment diet.

    Milk, yoghurt, cheese, fortified soymilk, fortified cereals, fortified orange juice, soybeans, sardines, leafy greens like kale, spinach, turnips.

  9. Magnesium: Magnesium has the property of widening your blood vessels. Foods rich in magnesium like whole grains, daily products (low fat content), nuts, seeds, chickpeas, and oats can be a part of your daily diet plan.

    Do add magnesium rich fruits and veggies like Brussels sprouts, peas, broccoli, asparagus, banana, avocado, figs, and raspberries to your Raynaud’s disease diet.

  10. Evening primrose oil: Adding evening primrose oil supplement to your diet plan will help ease the symptoms of Raynaud’s disease. It contains linolenic acid that helps reduce inflammation.

    It is loaded with fatty acids that help prevent the formation of chemicals that narrow down your arteries. It is necessary to consult your physician before adding it to your diet.

    Contraindication- If you are at risk for bleeding, if you take blood thinning medicines, or suffer from seizures, then do not take this oil.

  11. Ginger and garlic: Adding herbs like ginger and garlic will prevent deposition of plaque on your arteries. This will prevent them from narrowing down and prevent symptoms of Raynaud’s symptoms.

    They also keep your body warm and keep your body from being affected by a cold environment. This helps avert Raynaud’s attack.

Foods to avoid in Raynaud’s disease

Things that cause vaso-constriction should be totally prohibited from your consumption. These are as follows:

  1. Caffeine: Foods that have caffeine should be completely avoided in your diet. Coffee, chocolates, aerated drinks are heavily spiked with caffeine.

    When you consume them, your blood vessels get constricted and may cause spasms. This may trigger Raynaud’s attack.

  2. Alcohol: Avoid intake of alcohol as it leads to constriction of blood vessels. It may prompt Raynaud’s symptoms to appear.

  3. Nicotine: Nicotine consumption should be completely avoided in any form. It narrows the blood vessels and causes Raynaud’s attack.

    Chewing tobacco, smoking cigarettes, taking in second hand smoke, green pepper and eggplant are full of nicotine content  and should be avoided at all costs.

  4. Cold drinks and foods: Drinks spiked with ice and cold foods like ice cream lower your body temperature. This may make you susceptible to Raynaud’s attack if you have a tendency towards it.

Avoid them to prevent triggering Raynaud’s symptoms.

 Follow this diet program customized by your physician and manage your Raynaud’s syndrome effectively!  You can easily adopt Ayurvedic remedies to keep your body warm and the symptoms of Raynaud’s at bay.

Herbs like Ginkgo Biloba, ginger and garlic, Vitamin E, Fish Oil, Cod Liver Oil, Omega 3 Fatty acids, Calcium and Magnesium can be added to your diet in the form of Ayurvedic health supplements.  Consult an Ayurvedic doctor to adopt these herbal remedies for an effective Raynaud’s management plan.

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