Rheumatoid arthritis and a healthy diet

Rheumatoid arthritis and a healthy diet

A very important subject regarding rheumatoid arthritis is the question about what kind of nutrients in food and supplements can help people to ease the pain in a natural way. Researchers have not yet found out a specific nutrient that cures rheumatoid arthritis but they have detected some nutrients that eliminate or decrease the inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis. Besides, a well balanced diet centered on plant-based foods, which includes 66% fruits, vegetables and whole grains and 33% low fat dairy products and lean sources of protein.

Nutrients such as Omega-3 fatty acids in fish and specially, in krill oil are the most promising anti-inflammatories found in food. The krill is a small crustaceous similar to a shrimp that lives in the cold waters of the Antarctica and it has been scientifically proven that its content of Omega-3 is very helpful against inflammation. Further, Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in cold water fish such as herring, mackerel, trout, salmon and tuna. Studies have concluded that fish oil can relieve tender joints and ease morning stiffness. A serving of fish provides about one gram of omega-3 fatty acids per 3½ ounces of fish. Omega-3 fish supplements are very helpful to release pain and inflammation but it is recommended to talk with the doctor about the dosage because it can have interactions with other drugs such as high blood pressure drugs.

Besides, nutrients such as fiber from fruits, vegetables and whole grains may also help reduce inflammation. Research has shown that including fiber in the diet lowers the levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), which is an indicator of inflammation in the blood.

Another excellent nutrient helping reducing inflammation is olive oil. Specially the compound in olive oil called oleocanthal blocks the enzymes that cause inflammation so that olive oil is as effective as a non steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as ibuprofen or aspirin. Therefore it is highly recommended to take 3.5 tablespoons of olive oil (400 calories) to equal the anti-inflammatory properties of one 200 mg ibuprofen tablet. Besides, olive oil can always be used for cooking instead of butter and other oils.

Supplements are also very useful for diminishing inflammation. In fact, research has shown that people with rheumatoid arthritis have low levels of the mineral selenium. Selenium is found in whole grain wheat products and shellfish such as oysters and crabs. It contains antioxidants, which help to control inflammation. Besides, it may also increase the risk of developing diabetes.

Vitamin D is an important nutrient that protects against osteoporosis and may also be helpful in lowering the risk of rheumatoid arthritis in the elderly due to its benefits in regulating the immune system. Vitamin D can be found in eggs, fortified breads, cereals and low fat milk.

In summary, the Mediterranean diet, is the best one to follow to have a healthy balanced diet, which includes all important nutrients to help fight against rheumatoid arthritis and other illnesses as well. It includes Omega-3 fatty acids, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and olive oil.