People with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) know all too well the inflammation and pain that comes with the disease. Although there's no "RA diet" that treats the condition, some foods can lower inflammation in your body. And because they're good for you, these foods -- including fruits and vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, and fish -- may help you feel better overall.
People with RA have immune systems that harm the lining of their joints. This damage causes chronic inflammation, stiffness, and pain.
Research shows the Mediterranean diet's tasty fare -- like olive oil, fish, greens, and other vegetables -- can lower inflammation, which is good for your whole body.
In one study of women with RA, those who took a cooking class on Mediterranean-style foods (and ate that way for 2 months) had less joint pain and morning stiffness and better overall health compared to those who didn’t take the class.
For starters, add these foods to your menu.
Some fats -- especially omega-3 fatty acids -- lower inflammation.
Salmon, herring, sardines, and anchovies are great sources of omega-3s. Salmon has the most, with up to 2 grams per 3-ounce serving. Don’t overcook it, because that can destroy more than half of the omega-3s. Bake or grill fish instead of frying it to preserve healthful fat.
The American Heart Association recommends eating fish twice a week.
Don't like fish? Walnuts, canola oil, and soybeans are rich in a different type of omega-3 fatty acid. Or ask your doctor about supplements.
It’s a simple way to make sure you get the nutrients you need: Eat fruits and vegetables of different colors. Think blueberries, watermelon, carrots, spinach, onions -- the whole rainbow! The natural chemicals that give fruits and vegetables their hue are strong antioxidants.