What are the Best Tips for a Rheumatoid Arthritis Diet?

Amy Hunter

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.

Walnuts are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which may help reduce inflammation related to rheumatoid arthritis.
Walnuts are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which may help reduce inflammation related to rheumatoid arthritis.

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.

Flax seed oil is believed to help with arthritis pain.
Flax seed oil is believed to help with arthritis pain.

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.

Eating a diet with more salmon can help with inflammation.
Eating a diet with more salmon can help with inflammation.

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.

Green tea helps reduce swelling caused by rheumatoid arthritis.
Green tea helps reduce swelling caused by rheumatoid arthritis.

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.

Regular exercise, coupled with a healthy diet may alleviate the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
Regular exercise, coupled with a healthy diet may alleviate the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

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.

Foods rich in quercetin, like broccoli, may help reduce inflammation.
Foods rich in quercetin, like broccoli, may help reduce inflammation.
Effective arthritis treatment often begins with addressing the type of foods that are part of the daily diet.
Effective arthritis treatment often begins with addressing the type of foods that are part of the daily diet.
Rheumatoid arthritis causes chronic inflammation of the joints.
Rheumatoid arthritis causes chronic inflammation of the joints.

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