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Arthritis Diet


The most important relationship between arthritis diet and arthritis is weight. Excess weight is harmful to joint health and may increase pain, stiffness and swelling in the joints. If you are obese or overweight, try and lose the excess weight. To help lose surplus weight combine healthy eating with regular exercise.

Arthritis Diet- Eat more oily fish

Arthritis Diet-Omega 3Fish such as sardines, mackerel, herring, fresh tuna, salmon, swordfish, marlin and snapper have a darker flesh which is rich in omega-3 polyunsaturated fats. In addition to their heart health benefits, fish oils have been shown to help dampen general inflammation and may help to reduce joint pain and stiffness.

Arthritis Diet- Eat Iron Rich Foods

Tiredness is a very common symptom of rheumatoid arthritis and can be made worse by anaemia (a deficiency of red blood cells to transport oxygen around the body). Anaemia can occur as a result of inflammation or because of the long-term use of non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs, which can lead to internal bleeding and stomach ulcers in some people.

To try to help tackle this, eat iron rich foods regularly: lean red meat, eggs, green leafy vegetables, pulses (peas, beans and lentils), and fortified breakfast cereals. Iron is more easily absorbed by the body if you have it at the same time as vitamin C, so have a portion of fruits or vegetables with your meal.

Arthritis Diet- Eat Calcium Rich Foods 

Arthritis Diet-Calcium rich foodIt is important that everyone gets enough calcium in their arthritis diet to ensure that their bones stay strong and healthy. This is an even greater consideration when you have rheumatoid arthritis, as you have a higher risk of developing osteoporosis, so ensuring an adequate calcium intake is important. Good sources of calcium include milk, yogurt cheese and other dairy foods, green leafy vegetables, soya drinks with added calcium, almonds and fish where you eat the bones, such as sardines and pilchards. Don’t forget that lower fat varieties of milk i.e. skimmed or semi skimmed have the same amount of calcium, if not more than whole milk, so try to use lower fat versions wherever possible to cut down on your saturated fat intake and the extra calories.

Calcium also needs vitamin D to aid its absorption. Most of us get all the vitamin D that we need from sunlight on our skin. However, vitamin D can also be found in oily fish, eggs and fortified breakfast cereals and margarine.

Arthritis Diet- Exclusion Diets and Food Intolerance

Fasting is an extreme and temporary way of controlling pain and inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis and is not recommended. A vegetarian diet may help relieve symptoms for some, but care is needed to ensure it is nutritionally sound. Offending foods can be identified through a dietary exclusion programme under the supervision of a dietitian. Excluding too many foods or food groups can lead to nutritional problems, so if you think the food you eat might be linked to your rheumatoid arthritis symptoms ask your family doctor.

Arthritis Diet- Nutritional Supplements

There is no scientific evidence to support the use of antioxidant vitamins or mineral supplements in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. A healthy arthritis diet should contain all the nutrients needed by the body. However, if your arthritis diet is very restricted or your appetite poor a general multivitamin/mineral supplement may provide useful background fortification. Check with your doctor or pharmacist first, as some may interfere with medications you may be taking.

Arthritis Diet- Fish Oils

The research for fish oil supplements is promising. In clinical trials, high dose fish oil supplements have been shown to reduce symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, such as the duration of morning stiffness, the number of swollen and tender joints and joint pain. Fish oil supplements should be rich in the omega-3 fats EPA and DHA. Symptom relief can take up to three months to achieve. The beneficial effects may be enhanced by reducing the amount of omega-6 polyunsaturated fats in the arthritis diet. Some eggs and breads are enriched with omega-3 fats and are another useful way to increase the weekly intake of EPA and DHA.

Following the dietary tips above may help to relieve some of the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. It is important to maintain a healthy weight. Healthy eating combined with regular exercise will assist weight loss. Reduce the amount of saturated fat you consume to benefit your joint and heart health, and change the balance of polyunsaturated fats you eat so you have more omega-3 fats and fewer omega-6 fats.

Observe your arthritis diet and your weight, as excess weight is harmful to joint health and may increase pain, stiffness and swelling in the joints.


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