If you find certain foods make your rheumatoid arthritis symptoms worse and others make your symptoms better, it makes sense to make some adjustments in your diet. It's best to do that with guidance from your doctor or a nutritionist, to make sure you get all the nutrients you need.
Can a Mediterranean Diet Help Rheumatoid Arthritis?
The traditional Mediterranean diet is loaded with fruits, vegetables, nuts, olive oil, legumes, and fish. Those foods are rich in nutrients that are good for you.
However, many other things also affect your health. A good diet is key, but it's not an RA cure. Your RA treatment plan should include traditional medicine, as well a healthy diet and other good habits.
What Vitamins and Minerals Are Important for Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Folic acid, or folate, is a B vitamin that helps your body make red blood cells. If you take the drug methotrexate, folic acid may help you to avoid some of the drug's side effects.
Supplementing your diet with bone-boosting calcium and vitamin D is important, especially if you take corticosteroids (like prednisone) that can cause bone loss. Bone loss is more likely in people with rheumatoid arthritis. Check with your doctor to see how much calcium and vitamin D you need to get daily through foods, supplements, and sunlight.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Rheumatoid Arthritis
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish such as salmon, tuna, and trout; walnuts; tofu and other soybean products; flaxseed and flaxseed oil; and canola oil. They may help curb inflammation.
Fish oil supplements also contain omega-3 fatty acids. Some people with RA report less pain and joint tenderness when taking fish oil, according to the American College of Rheumatology.
You may not notice any benefit at first from taking a fish oil supplement. It may take weeks or months to feel a difference.
Talk to your doctor before taking any supplements. Your doctor can check on the dose you need, since the dose used in medical studies was much higher than what you'd get from a normal supplement without a prescription.
Alcohol and Rheumatoid Arthritis
If you take any RA medication, ask your doctor if it's OK for you to drink alcohol. Avoid alcohol if you take methotrexate, because liver damage could be a serious side effect.