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.
They also cut down on “bad” (LDL) cholesterol and triglycerides when you use them instead of saturated fats and trans fats. High levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides (fats in the blood) put you at risk for heart disease. Since RA makes heart disease more likely, you want to take every opportunity to keep your heart healthy.
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.