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Rheumatoid Arthritis diet tips

Updated on May 30, 2011

Developing a nutrition strategy


For persons suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, proper nutrition is important in delaying the joint destruction associated with it. A good diet plan for rheumatoid arthritis cannot cure the disease. In fact, there are no conclusive studies on the relationship between certain foods and rhematoid arthritis symptoms.

However, preliminary studies have shown that including certain foods and excluding others may mitigate the symptoms of pain and inflammation associated with the autoimmune disease. The nutrition strategy relies on knowing which foods typically alleviate symptoms and which worsen them. Indeed, rheumatoid arthritis diet tips closely resemble general tips for a healthy diet.


Conquering Arthritis: What Doctors Don't Tell You Because They Don't Know
Conquering Arthritis: What Doctors Don't Tell You Because They Don't Know

You can go one better than merely eating the right foods. Barbara Allan's book offers practical advice for arthritis patients. This is a must-read.


Foods to include


Foods containing Omega-3 fats: According to the John Hopkins Arthritis Center, there is a possibility that foods rich in Omega-3 can help relieve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. However, preliminary studies conducted by researchers there have shown that benefits may be reaped only after long periods of consumption. Fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines, trout and herring are highly recommended.

Unsalted nuts and seeds are healthy alternative sources of proteins and a good source of healthy fats. Given that animal protein is usually excluded, nuts and seeds provide a viable alternative. Another benefit of this food-type is that its healthy fats destroy enzymes in cells that encourage inflammation. Walnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts and pumpkin seeds are some nuts and seeds that alleviate symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

Anti-oxidant foods: Fruits high in vitamin C, such as peaches, guava, apples, papayas, lemons, pineapple and mangoes are great-tasting antioxidants. In addition, vitamin C is critical to the health of collagen, making fruits and vegetables high in this nutrient effective in delaying joint deterioration. Vegetables high in beta-carotene may also be good sources of vitamin C. Beta-carotene is a powerful anti-oxidant and prevents attacks of free radicals, which are produced when your body fights infections. Carrots, sweet potato, pumpkin, squash, spinach and broccoli are all rich in beta-carotene, making them go-to foods for rheumatoid arthritis patients.

Anti-inflammatory spices: Inflammation is an important characteristic of rheumatoid arthritis. Spices are normally viewed as tasty additives, but can be useful in combating effects of rheumatoid arthritis. Ginger and turmeric are powerful anti-inflammatory spices. Both can be used as seasoning in a rheumatoid arthritis diet.

Find out more about nutrition and arthritis

How to Eat Away Arthritis: Gain Relief from the Pain and Discomfort of Arthritis Through Nature's Remedies
How to Eat Away Arthritis: Gain Relief from the Pain and Discomfort of Arthritis Through Nature's Remedies

This book tells you much more about nutrition as a weapon in your fight against arthritis. You or your loved ones should have access to this information.


Foods to exclude


Generally, rheumatoid arthritis patients should limit foods that increase body fat levels. According to Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, diets rich in animal fats and oils facilitate incorporation of unhelpful fats into cell membranes. Animal fats and oils promote production of enzymes that encourage inflammation.

These unhelpful fats can be found in pasteurized dairy products and red meats. In addition, refined sugars, mono-sodium glutamate, processed foods, and table salt should be avoided. Some of these foods can be eaten in moderation, but excessive consumption should be avoided at all costs.


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General tip and conclusion


Rheumatoid arthritis patients should observe the effect of certain foods on pain and inflammation for a few weeks. The best diet tips are to follow a healthy, balanced diet and only make major dietary changes with the input of a registered dietician or doctor.

The Arthritis Foundation states that although diet-related effects on rheumatoid arthritis have not been proven, some studies show that it might help with alleviate symptoms. The rheumatoid arthritis diet tips describe a normal, healthy diet. Apart from being easy to follow, it should alleviate symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.


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