Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that affects the synovium or the lining of the joints. It is a chronic joint disorder that causes painful swelling and stiffness of the affected areas. The small joints of the limbs are the common sites of rheumatoid arthritis. Over time, as the disease progresses, rheumatoid arthritis spreads to the ankles, knees, hips, elbows and shoulders.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disorder that cannot be cured. Treatment for rheumatoid arthritis primarily focuses on alleviating inflammation and stiffness in the joints and preventing flare-ups. In recent years, several studies have highlighted the effectiveness of dietary therapy in improving the symptoms of arthritis.
Best Diet Tips For Rheumatoid Arthritis
Eat Fatty Fish
A study conducted by researchers of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden showed that the risk of rheumatoid arthritis is lower in women who ate more than one serving of salmon or any other fatty fish per week for a prolonged period than women who consumed less fish.
A single serving of fatty fish contains about 0.21 grams of omega-3 fatty acid. Omega-3 fatty acid is a potent anti-inflammatory agent. A diet rich in omega-3 fats helps in preventing inflammatory health disorders by suppressing production of pro-inflammatory substances. Rheumatoid arthritis patients should try to consume at least two servings of fatty fish per week.
Consume Fruits And Vegetables Rich In Vitamin C
In a research published in the journal Annals of Rheumatic Diseases in June 2004 researchers showed an association between increased intake of vitamin C rich fruits and vegetables and lower incidence of rheumatoid arthritis flare-ups. The anti-arthritic effect of vitamin C is attributed to its antioxidant property.
As elevated oxidative stress is believed to be one of the causes of rheumatoid arthritis, vitamin C through its antioxidant effect can prevent flare-ups by negating the activities of free radicals that damage the joint tissues. You can meet your optimal vitamin C requirement by eating a variety of fruits and vegetables daily. The best sources of vitamin C include papaya, oranges, lemon, bell pepper, pineapple, strawberry and broccoli.
Eat Vitamin B6 Rich Foods
Researchers have found a link between low serum vitamin B6 level and increased risk of rheumatoid arthritis flare-ups. A study reported in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition in September 2010 revealed that vitamin B6 helps in suppressing activities of pro-inflammatory cytokines in rheumatoid arthritis patients.Hence, rheumatoid arthritis patients should add foods rich in vitamin B6 such as fish, poultry, spinach, banana, bell pepper, turnip greens and summer squash to their daily diet.
Eat Vitamin E Rich Foods
Increased oxidative stress worsens rheumatoid arthritis and accelerates destruction of the joint tissues. Increasing intake of vitamin E rich foods helps in boosting the antioxidant status of the body, thereby reducing the effect of oxidative stress on the joints affected by rheumatoid arthritis.To meet the daily optimal vitamin E requirement, rheumatoid arthritis patients should consume sunflower seeds, nuts, leafy green vegetables, papaya and bell pepper.
The traditional diet of the Mediterranean countries can provide relief from rheumatoid arthritis flare-ups. The effectiveness of the Mediterranean diet in alleviating the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and reducing the risk of flare-ups is supported by a Swedish study published in the journal Annals of Rheumatic Diseases in March 2003. A Mediterranean diet comprises of plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, fish, moderate amount of olive or canola oil and fewer fats.