As research in managing rheumatoid arthritis (RA) continues, more and more focus is being put on nutrition.
The key may be anti-inflammatory foods. Inflammation is common in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and may also play a role in osteoarthritis (OA).
Adopting one or all of the following six diet strategies, recommended by Dr. Rebecca Manno, a Johns-Hopkins rheumatologist with nutrition expertise, may help.
In Part 1 we looked at (1) Eat Heart-Healthy Foods, (2) Adopt a Mediterranean Mindset, and (3) Consider Fish Oil.
Now in Part 2 we have three more tips from Dr. Manno to consider:
(4) If a Food Affects Your Symptoms, Avoid It
Many people with arthritis have found that certain foods trigger symptoms.
Patients say they feel better if they avoid artificial sweeteners and preservatives, for instance.
Some people report that they feel better if they avoid gluten, opt for a vegan diet, or use certain spices for arthritis relief.
Dr. Manno assures her patients that this is not “just in their head,” and that a bit of trial and error can help you find what works for you.
(5) Skip Refined Sugars
Research shows that the more refined sugar you eat (think sweets and junk food) the more inflammation you might have.
Cutting back on sugar has made a difference in symptoms for Abigail Auer, 42, of Atlanta, who was diagnosed with RA in 2013.
Instead of cookies or cake indulge in dark chocolate. Auer used to prefer milk chocolate but learned to like dark chocolate, which has antioxidants that may reduce inflammation. An ounce of dark chocolate a day should suffice for this effect, experts suggest.
Cutting back on sugar has also helped Chantelle Marcial, 36, of Boston, with her RA. “I know sugar is a trigger for a flare [for me],” she says. Although most of us crave sweets, she says, eating less of them is worth it.
Marcial didn’t realize how much sugar she was eating until she began to read food labels more carefully.
(6) Keep Diet in Perspective
“You read so much about diet for RA,” says Dr. Manno.
“Just don’t let diet become another hardship in your life. Focus on fresh, healthier foods and less sugar, and don’t feel pressured to follow a diet to the letter.”
You’ll probably have to stick to the diet for a few weeks before you see results.
And, as always, before you try any diet, be sure to talk to your doctor.
Source: Kathleen Doheny