Diet Tips When You Have Rheumatoid Arthritis

If you have rheumatoid arthritis and are taking medication to keep symptoms under control, you may also benefit from eating an anti-inflammatory diet. An anti-inflammation diet can prevent many degenerative diseases from becoming severe and will also protect your immune system. Proponents of this diet also report that it can reduce heart disease, lower blood pressure and soothe stiff arthritic joints.

Researchers at the University of Oslo, Norway report that food allergies can cause inflammation in the body and trigger many arthritis symptoms in some people. The study showed that the intestinal fluid of people with rheumatoid arthritis had more antibodies to proteins including cereal, eggs, cow’s milk and pork than people without rheumatoid arthritis. When the body produces extra antibodies in an effort to fight off what it thinks are harmful substances, arthritis symptoms can be aggravated. (Source: Arthritis Today)  Even though this was a preliminary study, many experts do suspect that what you eat can play a role in the magnitude of arthritis symptoms.

Eating to Prevent Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptom Flare-Ups

There is no set anti-inflammatory diet but a nutritionist or dietician can create a custom plan based on your individual needs. People with rheumatoid arthritis may benefit from eating a variation of the Mediterranean diet that consists of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and minimal refined carbs. Some more diet tips to keep in mind when you have rheumatoid arthritis include:

  • Eating healthy fats such as Omega-3s on a regular basis
  • Minimizing or eliminating consumption of saturated fats and trans fats
  • Avoiding junk food and processed foods
  • Using ginger, turmeric and curry powder in cooking to minimize inflammation
  • Eating more brown rice, bulger wheat and other whole grains on a regular basis
  • Eating lean protein including chicken and tofu
  • Reducing or eliminating consumption of red meat
  • Eliminating whole-milk and dairy products from the diet

Foods to Avoid When You Have Rheumatoid Arthritis

Many people with rheumatoid arthritis do experience intensified symptoms after eating certain foods. Some of the foods to avoid when you have rheumatoid arthritis include:

  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Ice cream
  • Deep fried foods
  • White flour
  • Enriched wheat bread
  • Sugary cereals
  • Table sugar
  • Corn syrup

Healthy Fats and the Rheumatoid Arthritis Diet

Many health experts emphasize the importance of eating healthy fats because these can reduce joint pain and stiffness that many people with rheumatoid arthritis experience on a regular basis. Omega-3s act as an anti-inflammatory in the body and can help to improve joint mobility and range of motion. People with rheumatoid arthritis who cannot eat fatty fish, walnuts and other food sources of Omega-3s can take a fish oil supplement or Omega-3 supplement on a daily basis instead. Healthy fats can also replace saturated fats and other unhealthy fats in the standard diet.

If you have rheumatoid arthritis, talk to your physician about a custom diet plan that may help to reduce your symptoms. Your physician may refer you to a nutritionist who can help you create a healthy diet plan that works for you.