An Anti-Inflammatory Diet Can Help Ease RA Symptoms

Studies show eating certain foods can help rheumatoid arthritis.

An Anti-Inflammatory Diet Can Help Ease RA Symptoms

By Akash Bhatnagar Published at July 5, 2012 Views 15,541

It is common for rheumatoid arthritis patients to look for other treatment options in addition to medications. One such option is following an anti-inflammatory diet.

Which foods have anti-inflammatory effects and what has been proven to work?

One proven anti-inflammatory is fish oil, as the omega 3 fatty acid in fish oil reduces RA symptoms. Approximately 3 oz of salmon or 4.5 oz of trout gives you 1.5 grams of omega 3 fatty acid. In contrast, fish oil supplements give you anywhere from 250 to 600 mg of omega 3 fatty acid per capsule. The majority of studies have shown about 3 grams of omega 3 fatty acid, in addition to a patient’s normal RA medication regimen, is required to reduce symptoms of RA. The benefits may take some time, possibly 12 weeks or longer.

Diets high in turmeric may also help reduce inflammation in RA. Turmeric has a coloring agent called curcumin, which contains an anti-inflammatory property. The spice is commonly found in Indian and Chinese cooking. Several studies have shown reduced markers of inflammation in RA mice, but recent human studies are lacking. The one study on humans was done in 1980. Eighteen patients were treated with 1,200 mg of curcumin and 300 mg of phenylbutazone (no longer allowed for use in humans) per day for 2 weeks. These patients had less morning stiffness, longer walking times, and reduced swelling. Information on amounts of curcumin in common foods is difficult to pinpoint, but the dried root of turmeric is 3 to 5 percent curcumin. In addition, there are supplements that claim to have 95 percent curcumin and will have a more exact amount of curcumin in milligrams.

Due to its chronic nature and medication side effects, RA can also rob patients of nutrients, especially vitamin D, so be sure to supplement any deficiencies.

Diet is a difficult factor to study and assess in relation to any disease, but diets high in omega 3 fatty acids, healthy spices, antioxidants, and vitamins benefit the overall health of individuals with and without RA. For this reason, diets low in fats and sugar are still encouraged and will help protect overall health. Treatment of RA involves both medications and diet working in tandem. It is always important to keep in mind that RA treatment should not only focus on the disease, but on the overall health of the individual. Before making changes to your diet, you should always talk to your doctor to ensure there are no foreseeable complications, especially with medications.

Have you tried an anti-inflammatory diet? Share your experiences in the comment section below.

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