what is the best diet for rheumatoid arthritis?

What is the best diet for Rheumatoid Arthritis?

I did some research on this question “What is the best diet for Rheumatoid Arthritis?” because once you are diagnosed you want to find anything that will reduce your inflammation and diet is an obvious choice to consider.

What I must emphasise is that there is no one perfect diet that suits everyone. I see food as fuel and like cars we all need the right fuel to work healthily and efficiently. Our genetic predispositions lead us to different food preferences and intolerances these must be considered when considering dietary changes.

Another key consideration is that short term inflammation is a healthy and protective response from the body. It is long term inflammation that transmutes into long term chronic disease.

Finally, ideas on nutrition are a movable feast if you can forgive the pun…, they can change and evolve. The best information is how your body responds so always listen to that above anything else. Each diet listed below offers anti-inflammatory benefits.

I put these ideas forward for you to make a choice, I have no opinion as to the one that is “best” because I recognise that each person needs to make their own choice.

THE ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DIET

This is similar to the Mediterranean diet; it involves eating

  • Fatty fish – salmon, trout and sardines
  • High Fat oils – olive and avocado
  • Vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Nuts
  • Green Tea
  • Spices

It does not include white carbs, processed meats or snacks and alcohol

THE MEDITERREAN DIET

This diet is popular for many people and includes

  • fish – salmon, trout and sardines 2 x 140g cooked weight per week,
  • vegetables – eat the rainbow to maximise the number of phytonutrients in each meal as well as making an attractive plate of food! Due to soil depletion vegetables do not have the same level of nutrients aim for 10 a day
  • Wholegrains plus non starchy vegetables are important components of managing blood sugar levels. Eat colourful vegetables, limit fruits and include wholegrains for fibre content. This keeps the glycaemic load low
  • nuts
  • quality cold-pressed olive oil

THE PALEO DIET

This diet is based on our ancestors eating habits and so is called the Caveman’s Diet

  • Here meat (not red) is included
  • No cultivated grains
  • Vegetables
  • Fruit

THE CARNIVORE DIET

  • Animal products
  • Meat
  • Eggs
  • Theoretically milk, cheese but it seems most people don’t choose these options

GLUTEN / DAIRY FREE

Celiac disease is the autoimmune condition caused by inability to process gluten. Gluten activates inflammatory responses for many people. When we have a problem with gluten the body identifies gluten as an invader and will defend against it, creating inflammatory responses.

Sadly, once we have one autoimmune disease, we are more susceptible to another. If you are diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis then it is a good idea to get the Celiac test done. You will recognise the symptoms depression, sore joints, fatigue plus lots of aches and pains

Aside from the inflammatory response, gluten prevents you from absorbing nutrients. You become ill because you cannot get the vital nutrients you need.

Gluten takes about nine months to get out of the system. But, don’t worry you will feel better much quicker than that, when I gave up gluten I felt better within a week and continued to improve for a long time.

New research suggests that all grains and even milk products have different types of gluten proteins; this is why some people find themselves intolerant or sensitive to dairy as well as grains.

So, I think gluten and dairy have to be considered carefully when you have Rheumatoid Arthritis because of the inflammation factor. You are aiming to reduce inflammation as much as possible to minimise the number of flares you get. Nothing is definitive so this may be relevant for some but not for others.

Other reasons to review your food choices

If you are at a higher weight this is extra pressure on your body and joints which makes pain and mobility issues more likely. In addition, excess levels of inflammatory messengers are produced which ultimately result in diabetes and insulin issues.

Omega fatty acids are important but only supportive if the ratios are correct, focus on Omega 3 rich foods, the Omega 6 fatty acids like sunflower or grapeseed oils should be limited because they are more pro-inflammatory than Omega 3 foods. Look to olives, nuts and fatty fish.

High sugar / fructose corn syrup consumption leads you to insulin resistance, diabetes and obesity

The correct diet for you, whilst not curative in terms of Rheumatoid Arthritis does enable you to stay as healthy as possible. A good diet enables you to have good energy levels, maintain a healthy weight and immune system and reduce inflammation as well as supporting your mental and emotional health.