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What are the Best Tips for a Rheumatoid Arthritis Diet?

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  • Written By: Amy Hunter
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 09 November 2016
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There are no definitive answers on whether a rheumatoid arthritis diet exists or is effective. There are certain foods that may reduce symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis however. For best results, each individual should try the recommended foods, and determine if they made a difference in his or her symptoms. Fortunately, the foods that are believed to be helpful at reducing rheumatoid arthritis symptoms are healthy additions to the diet.

Foods rich in antioxidants, such as berries, tea, garlic, and red grapes, may reduce inflammation, which make them a good addition to a rheumatoid arthritis diet. One antioxidant in particular, quercetin, is thought to inhibit tumor necrosis factor in a similar way as Humira, a prescription medication for rheumatoid arthritis. Quercetin is found in cocoa powder, broccoli, and onions.

Omega-3 fatty acids, found in flax seeds, canola, cold water fish such as salmon, and walnuts, may also make healthy additions to a rheumatoid arthritis diet. Eat these foods in moderation, as one key to reducing rheumatoid arthritis pain is maintaining an ideal weight. Being overweight increases stress on weight bearing joints, which can lead to an increase in joint pain, inflammation, and stiffness.

Foods that contain high amounts of beta-carotene, such as pumpkins, apricots, sweet potatoes, and carrots may ease rheumatoid arthritis symptoms as well. Finally, combat osteoporosis, which plagues some people that have rheumatoid arthritis, by eating a diet rich in vitamin D, calcium, and magnesium.

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Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease of the autoimmune system that leads to chronic inflammation of the joints, as well as the tissues surrounding the joints. In addition to joint pain and swelling, symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include weight loss, fever, fatigue, and bumps of tissue that develop under the skin along the arms. Risk factors include being female, between the ages of 40 and 60, a smoker, and having a family history of the disease.

There is no cure for the condition, and the treatment is aimed at reducing pain and inflammation. Medications used to treat rheumatoid arthritis include over the counter and prescription nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids, immunosuppressants, TNF-alpha inhibitors, and disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs. Combining medication and other conventional treatments with a rheumatoid arthritis diet may provide more relief than medication alone for some patients. If medications do not provide adequate relief, surgery to repair or replace damaged joints and tendons may be necessary. Physical and occupational therapy can be used to help treat mobility problems.

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