If you have rheumatoid arthritis, you know how pain and inflammation can affect your daily life. Although there is no particular diet that works for everyone with RA, studies have pinpointed specific foods that can help in controlling inflammation. The Arthritis Foundation warns, however, that before trying a specific diet or food, consult your dietitian in Memphis, TN first to make sure that it will not backfire on you.
Mediterranean or Anti-Inflammatory Diet
This particular diet is rich in vegetables, healthy fats like olive oil, nuts, and seafood. According to numerous anecdotal reports, the Mediterranean diet can help manage the symptoms of RA. This diet is so good that the Arthritis Foundation considers this the best diet for RA patients.
Just a quick scan of its components will indicate that it can really work to relieve RA symptoms. For example, it is rich in seafood that contains essential fatty acids, as well as fiber that can help in reducing inflammation.
Fish Oil and Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are very beneficial for controlling inflammation. If you are allergic to fish, you can consider less-concentrated omega-3 fatty acid sources, such as walnuts, flaxseed oil, and ground flax.
Plenty of studies have shown that omega-3s from certain fishes like salmon, tuna, herring, and mackerel can reduce pain and joint inflammation, the duration and severity of morning aches and pains, as well as the need to take anti-inflammatory meds regularly.
While there is a need for more extensive and better-designed studies for proving or disproving all sorts of claims associated with certain diets, experts recommend that the most beneficial diet should contain the following food items:
- Moderately cooked or raw veggies with plenty of legumes and greens
- Seasonal fruits
- Spices such as ginger and turmeric
- Probiotic yogurt
Strictly Vegan and Vegetarian Diets
Although strictly vegan and vegetarian diets are great for some people, there is still not enough research to suggest how they can alleviate RA symptoms. If you are planning to try these diets, make sure that you can balance your nutritional intake in order to avoid specific deficiencies, like lack of essential fatty acids, protein, and vitamin B12, all of which are crucial for healthy bones.
What to Avoid
It is simple: avoid processed and packaged foods, animal products, and those high in trans-fat, sugar, and salt. Some studies have also found a link between cutting out soda and reduction of some RA symptoms.
Meanwhile, although the super popular ketogenic diet, which is very low on carbs and rich in fats, can help you lose excess weight and keep it off, you should not try it. Its high fat requirement can only aggravate inflammation. Its low veggie, fruit, and grain requirements may also not be enough to reduce inflammation.
Now that you know what foods to eat and not to eat, it is still best to check with your doctor just to be on the safe side. And if you have specific dietary concerns or questions, consult a dietitian.