Can Diet Influence Rheumatoid Arthritis? - Rheumatology Consultant London | Rheumatologist London | Dr Stephanie Barrett



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Rheumatoid arthritis does not yet have a cure but one of the many lifestyle changes suggested to those with the condition is altering their diet. Eating certain foods can help to manage the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and so in answer to the question this post poses, yes, diet can influence rheumatoid arthritis.

Several studies have found that certain foods are connected to the inflammation which is at the heart of the condition. A well-balanced diet is the most simple and straightforward approach anyone with arthritis. However, there are also certain foods which are recommended and others which are best avoided.

Foods that Fight Inflammation

Your diet should include cold-water fish such as herring and mackerel. Evidence suggests omega-3 fatty acids are one of the most promising anti-inflammatory ingredients. They are most prominent in oily fish and they can help to relieve tender joints and reduce morning stiffness.

Increasing the amount of fruit, vegetables and wholegrains you eat will help boost your fibre intake. This could also help reduce inflammation. Extra-virgin olive oil too has been said to play a role in inflammation reduction. It is said to work just like NSAIDs through a compound known as oleocanthal blocking the enzymes that cause inflammation.

Foods that Exacerbate Inflammation

Foods cannot cause inflammation on their own but they can make it work. Meats which are grilled or fried at a high temperature can result in the amount of advanced glycation end products in the blood. While there is no direct link between this and inflammation, higher levels of advanced glycation end products are often found in people with inflammatory conditions.

Omega-6 fatty acids may also boost inflammation. They are found in foods such as corn, sunflower and soybean oils and again, many snack foods and fried foods.

Healthy, fresh foods are your best way of ensuring your diet is effecting your condition positively. Avoiding fried foods is good for your health generally. This is even more so the case if you live with an inflammatory condition like rheumatoid arthritis.