For decades researchers have explored the link between diet and arthritis, learning how some nutrients trigger symptoms and how others may calm them.
The key may be anti-inflammatory foods. Inflammation is common in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and may also play a role in osteoarthritis (OA), the “wear-and-tear “arthritis associated with aging.
Adopting one or all of the following six diet strategies, recommended by Dr. Rebecca Manno, a Johns-Hopkins rheumatologist with nutrition expertise, may help, too.
As always, check with your own physician before starting any regime.
(1) Eat Heart-Healthy Foods
If you have arthritis, you may only be thinking about how your diet might ease pain and inflammation.
That’s understandable, but you should also be thinking about your heart, because people with RA are at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease.
As Dr. Manno tells her RA patients, “It applies 20-fold to you.” What’s good for your heart, as it turns out, may also be helpful in relieving your arthritis symptoms.
Looking to make some quick and easy swaps for a heart-healthy diet? Trade chips for nuts such as walnuts, spread avocado on your sandwich instead of mayonnaise, select spices instead of salt when seasoning foods, and choose beans over fatty cuts of meat.
(2) Adopt a Mediterranean Mindset
Eating a Mediterranean style diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fatty fish, and a little red meat may is a good way to maintain an anti-inflammatory eating plan.
When experts compared a group of people with RA who followed this diet to those who did not, the people on the Mediterranean plan reported less need for anti-inflammatory drugs as well as an increase in physical functioning. i
Cristina Montoya, 33, who has RA and is a member of the Creakyjoints online community, is a strong proponent of the Mediterranean diet. The resident of the Canadian province of Ontario said that eating less red meat in particular has lessened her fatigue and inflammation.
Only once or twice a month do I have red meat,” Montoya says. And cutting back was easier than she thought it would be. “I really don’t miss it,” she adds.
Dr. Manno says that it’s relatively painless to make some Mediterranean diet swaps. Try trading butter for olive oil, switch salmon for beef, and pick whole wheat breads over white versions
(3) Consider Fish Oil
Several studies have shown that fish oil’s omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial in reducing RA inflammation in blood work.
Patience in important, however, as the studies also show that physical benefits aren’t seen until after at least 12 weeks of continuous use.
Rather than using fish oil in supplement form, Dr. Manno suggests that you increase your intake of fish oil omega 3 with fatty fish such as salmon, herring, and mackerel.
Source: Kathleen Doheny