Arthritis and Diet

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

Most professionals agree that diet will not cure RA, but proper eating will help your treatment progress faster. Many people find some level of relief of one or more symptoms following the following dietary recommendations.

The Arthritis Foundation suggests the following:

Antioxidant – rich fruits and vegetables may reduce inflammation. Look for deeply colored red, green, yellow, orange, purple fruits and vegetables. These include: apples, blueberries, plums, brussels sprouts, broccoli, red grapes, beets, oranges, spinach, sweet potatoes, cranberries, peppers and strawberries.

Green tea is loaded with antioxidants but may contribute to the onset and progression of RA.

Omega-3 fatty acids may have anti-inflammatory effects. They can be found in eggs, canola, olive and flaxseed oils, salmon, mackerel, and herring.

Vitamin E levels tend to be low in those who have RA. It can be found in kiwi, whole grains, collard greens, dark leafy lettuces like Romaine, Boston, and Bibb, and various nuts such as almonds, filberts, and sunflower seeds. Whole grains are the best sources, other than supplements.

Calcium can be found in milk and dairy products. For the lactose-intolerant, soy, tofu and fortified juices and cereals make good alternatives. Choose low fat dairy.

Proteins for muscle strength and immune system building, are found in beans, poultry (chicken and turkey), fish, and lean red meats such as ground sirloin, flank steak, and round tip sirloin. Caution: Red meats may cause inflammation in some people. Avoiding red meats may lessen symptoms of RA.

Osteoarthritis (OA) Diets: Regimens offered in the literature and synopsis of expert conclusions to date.

  • This symbol means “No evidence to support significant improvement of symptoms.”
  • Eliminate nightshade vegetables. These include potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, and most peppers.
  • Alkaline diet. Exclude sugar, coffee, red meat, most grains, nuts and citrus fruits for one month.
  • Dong diet. Relies heavily on vegetables, similar otherwise to the alkaline diet.
  • Gin-soaked raisins. No evidence of effectiveness.
  • Green tea. Studies show effectiveness in mice. More research needed.

Vegetarian diet. Evidence mixed; one small study of people who have Rheumtoid Arthritis showed improvement after one and two years.

Consuming heart-healthy fats. Limit meat and poultry intake and increase intake of coldwater fish. Substitute olive, canola, and flaxseed oils for corn and sunflower oils. The idea is to substitute omega-3 oils for omega-6 oils, as the latter increase inflammation. Studies show promise in improvement of symptoms for some.

Note: Research shows that a diet high in sugar and refined carbohydrates may exacerbate symptoms of RA. The Nutrition Counseling Specialists