Does Diet Play a Role in Rheumatoid Arthritis?
I've been following my doctor's recommendations regarding lifestyle changes that might help to improve my rheumatoid arthritis symptoms: quitting smoking, losing weight, and exercising. My symptoms have definitely gotten better! So now I'm wondering about diet. Does diet play a role in rheumatoid arthritis symptoms? If so, what dietary changes can I make to reduce my RA symptoms?
At this time, it is unclear to what extent dietary changes may affect a person with rheumatoid arthritis. It makes sense that RA might be worsened by foods that increase inflammation, such as the "bad" fats, and would improve with foods that decrease inflammation, such as the "good" fats, although there isn't a lot of evidence yet to support this idea. However, since reducing "bad" fats and increasing "good" fats is a good idea for just about anyone, it is certainly worth a try.
Also, be on the lookout for any "trigger" foods that seem to cause your RA symptoms to flare up. If you think foods might be triggering symptoms, try keeping a food diary to help track your symptoms -- and your progress, if you decide to try eliminating any suspect foods. Although dietary changes are probably unlikely to cause a dramatic difference in RA symptoms, such changes are usually inexpensive and generally free of serious side effects and are, therefore, worth trying in many individuals.