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Rheumatoid Arthritis - What To Eat & What To Avoid?

Written and reviewed by
Dr.Bharat Singh 89% (43ratings)
MBBS, MD-Medicine, DM - Clinical Immunology
Rheumatologist, Jaipur  •  18years experience
Rheumatoid Arthritis - What To Eat & What To Avoid?

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an auto-immune disorder which induces inflammation in the joints. What causes the condition is not exactly clear, but a lot of studies have been done to establish a connection between various factors such as, diet, exercise, etc., with this condition. These studies have come up with correlation between foods and rheumatoid arthritis. There are some foods which should be a part of your diet, and some that should definitely be avoided if you have to keep the joint inflammation under control. Read on to know the top 5 foods to eat and to avoid.

What to eat?

  1. Soy: Being rich in protein and fiber and low in fat, soy is a great food for RA. It also contains omega-3 fatty acids and vegetarians especially should ensure they get enough soy in their diet.
  2. Fish: Salmon and tuna are fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and these are proven to be natural anti-inflammatory agents. Therefore, it is highly recommended that people with RA eat fish about 3 to 4 times per week.
  3. Oils: While an oily diet is definitely to be avoided, some healthy oils should be included. These include sunflower oil, walnut oil, olive oil, and avocado oil. These are known for their anti-inflammatory properties and are beneficial in people with RA.
  4. Green tea: Known for their polyphenols and antioxidants, green tea reduces damage caused by inflammation in RA. People with RA are recommended to have at least 2 servings of green tea daily.
  5. Beans and legumes: The high content of fiber, protein, folic acid, zinc, iron, potassium, and other minerals makes beans a must-have for RA patients. The red and kidney variety of beans are the preferred ones.

What to avoid?

  1. Grilled foods: Grilled chicken or red meat have high levels of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) which are known to worsen inflammation. So, while they are good for weight watchers, not so if you have RA. These also contain higher levels of saturated fat, which is again not advisable for RA.
  2. Fried foods: These contain 6-omega fatty acids, which have been proven to worsen inflammation. They are also high in saturated fats, which is a strict no-no for inflammation.
  3. MSG: Monosodium glutamate which is used generously in various Oriental dishes including soups, salad dressings, etc. should be avoided as it affects liver health and worsens inflammation.
  4. Salt: Reduce overall salt intake. Limiting the intake of pickles, salad dressings and processed foods, etc., which contain high amounts of sodium.
  5. Alcohol: This again increases inflammation and should be avoided in RA.

A healthy lifestyle improves not just the overall quality of life, but also reduces the severity of symptoms of RA.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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