A study published in April 2021 in Therapy showed that patients suffering from RA were more likely to have pro-inflammatory diets. However, those with RA were also able to lower their diet-associated inflammation, which was shown in the study coauthor James R. Hebert, MSPH, Health Sciences Distinguished Professor and director of the a Cancer prevention and control and treatment. “This particular result was extremely strong and consistent as it indicated that patients with RA had significantly higher odds of controlling the disease than those who didn’t adopt a more anti-inflammatory diet,” stated James R. Hebert (MSPH), Health Sciences Distinguished Professor at the University of South Carolina, Columbia.
It is important to note that this study was done over many years and shows the long-term benefits of low-inflammatory diets. Hebert added via email, “Because such diets can be extraordinarily varied and sensually appealing, it can be very simple to maintain over very long times.”
Additional evidence suggests that RA risk may be reduced by eating a diet high in plant fiber and polyunsaturated fatty acid — such as omega-3 fatty oils and lots of fruits, vegetables and legumes. Also, both fiber and polyunsaturated fat acids may lower C-reactive proteins (CRP), which can indicate joint inflammation.
Researchers believe fiber is particularly beneficial. However, it could be that phytonutrients found in fiber-rich vegetables, fruits, and grains may help to reduce it. Research has also shown that regular consumption of omega-3-rich fish such as tuna, salmon, mackerel and trout can reduce swelling and tenderness.
What is Joint-Friendly Food?
While many compounds found in foods have been shown to improve RA symptoms, it is still unclear how much would be required to reap the benefits.
Scientists know that inflammation and stomach acid are interconnected. This is why Western diets that emphasize fast food and high-quality flavorful foods can lead to RA.
For starters, obesity is a risk factor in inflammatory conditions. The body produces substances that cause inflammation. The more fat, the more inflamed it will become. It is also known that obesity-causing foods, such as those high in sugar, salt, or processed ingredients, can increase inflammation.
Scientists are also learning more about how intestinal bacterial imbalances may contribute to these conditions.
Olive oil may work in much the same way NSAIDs do
Research has been drawn to the anti-inflammatory properties of olive oil. This is because those who eat a traditional Mediterranean diet are less likely to develop degenerative joint diseases and diabetes.
Researchers found that oleocanthal (a compound found in extra virgin olive oil) appears to be able to suppress the same pain pathway as ibuprofen. This makes it a great oil to use in cooking or in salad dressings as part your daily pain management plan.
Vitamin C is important for tissue repair
Vitamin C can be used as a dietary supplement to help build and repair blood vessels and ligaments. It is also helpful for people suffering from osteoarthritis .
The current U.S. recommended daily intake for vitamin C is 75 mg for women and 90 for men . For pregnant women, aim for 85 mg, and 120 mg for lactating women.
Citrus foods, such as oranges, grapefruit, lemon, and limes, are rich in vitamin C, and are also good sources of inflammation-fighting antioxidants, which are beneficial for those with rheumatoid arthritis. However, Citrus may hinder the body’s ability to process certain RA medication, methotrexate. Regular consumption of grapefruit juice can block the protein known as CYP3A4 which helps the body metabolize cyclosporine. Other research suggests that other citrus juices such as those from Seville oranges and limes may affect the way CYP3A4 functions in the body.
Berries Are High in Antioxidants and Inflammation-Fighting Potential
Sandon suggests that you include one or more servings of berries (such as blueberries or raspberries, strawberry or blackberries) in your daily diet. These tiny fruits are rich in powerful antioxidants like proanthocyanins or ellagic acid which help to fight inflammation and cell injury. Sandon states that the amount and combinations of these compounds will vary depending on the type of berry. So make variety your goal.
Anti-Arthritis Vitamin A, Beta-Carotene-Packaged in Carrots
Sandon suggests that you also include sweet potatoes, squash, carrots and squash to your anti-arthritis shopping lists. These, and other orange-hued vegetables, are rich in Vitamin A as well as beta-carotene. Both of these compounds are thought to help fight inflammation. These compounds are more readily available when you cook them. These vegetables are best consumed in the recommended serving sizes. Do not eat them in excess. A single serving of carrots can be as little as 1/2 cup. This is about one large carrot, or seven to ten baby carrots.
Whole grains may help you lose weight and lessen pain
Sandon states that whole grains have many health benefits. Whole grains are grains that retain all three components of the original grain, the bran (outside the hull), the endosperm and the germ.
Whole grains provide more fiber and other nutrients than refined grains, including selenium and potassium. A diet high in whole grains can also help with weight control and reduce the symptoms associated with RA.