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Does A Healthy Diet Improve Your Arthritis?

Last updated April 24, 2016

A healthy and well-balanced diet should include healthy carbohydrates for energy, fiber, and avoid unhealthy fats. Such a healthy diet is beneficial to several body systems in many ways, apart from helping control the development of arthritis.


Many research studies have established the positive relation between arthritis and a healthy diet - how a healthy diet can help fight and prevent the progression of arthritis. Apart from regular exercising and maintaining a healthy body weight, a healthy and well-balanced diet is vital to prevent arthritis from developing in those, who have a higher risk for the condition.

Arthritis is a disorder affecting the body joints. The risk for the condition increases with age, especially after one reaches the age of 40 years. In this disorder, an abnormal inflammation of the joints occurs, with pain and joint stiffness. All the joints of the body are prone to this disorder, including the hip, knee, ankle, wrist, finger, and spine joints.

A healthy and well-balanced diet should include healthy carbohydrates for energy, fiber, and avoid unhealthy fats. Such a healthy diet is beneficial to several body systems in many ways, apart from helping control the development of arthritis. A healthy and balanced diet for arthritis should include the following foods.

  1. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids, which are found in oily fishes, like sardines, salmon, and in walnuts. It is good for arthritis and a host of medical conditions, such as heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, lupus (SLE), and many other conditions.
  2. Vitamin C and D foods: Many vegetables and fruits, such as broccoli, tomatoes, bell peppers, and citrus fruits (lemon, orange), are good sources of vitamin C. Vitamin D is found in cereals, oily fishes and fortified food products (milk, bread), besides sunlight.
  3. Green leafy vegetables, such as broccolis, cauliflowers, Brussel sprouts, cabbages, etc. of the Brassicaceae family are known to help prevent the onset of arthritis. These vegetables are also known as ‘super vegetables’.
  4. Mediterranean diet: A Mediterranean diet is a heart-healthy diet that is loaded with the good properties of any nutritional food ingredients, including olive oil. Olive oil is known to contain strong anti-inflammatory properties and is proven to fight arthritis, especially rheumatoid arthritis.

Multiple studies have shown that a healthy diet can help control the progression of arthritis. However, it should be understood that eating healthy foods does not cure one of arthritis. Also, it is best to plan your diet regimen with a proper dietitian, especially if you have other health conditions, or if you are overweight.

References:

http://www.arthritisresearchuk.org/arthritis-information/arthritis-and-daily-life/diet-and-arthritis/how-can-changing-my-diet-help-my-arthritis.aspx (accessed on 03/07/2016)

http://www.dovemed.com/diseases-conditions/arthritis-of-the-shoulder/ (accessed on 03/07/2016)

Anti-inflammatory and joint protective effects of extra-virgin olive-oil polyphenol extract in experimental arthritis. Rosillo MA, Alcaraz MJ, Sánchez-Hidalgo M, Fernández-Bolaños JG, Alarcón-de-la-Lastra C, Ferrándiz ML. J Nutr Biochem. 2014 Sep 16. pii: S0955-2863(14)00170-3. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2014.07.006.

Messier, S. P., Loeser, R. F., Miller, G. D., Morgan, T. M., Rejeski, W. J., Sevick, M. A., ... & Williamson, J. D. (2004). Exercise and dietary weight loss in overweight and obese older adults with knee osteoarthritis: the Arthritis, Diet, and Activity Promotion Trial. Arthritis & Rheumatism, 50(5), 1501-1510.

Kjeldsen-Kragh, J., Hvatum, M., Haugen, M., Førre, O., & Scott, H. (1994). Antibodies against dietary antigens in rheumatoid arthritis patients treated with fasting and a one-year vegetarian diet. Clinical and experimental rheumatology, 13(2), 167-172.

Hafström, I., Ringertz, B., Spångberg, A., Von Zweigbergk, L., Brannemark, S., Nylander, I., ... & Klareskog, L. (2001). A vegan diet free of gluten improves the signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis: the effects on arthritis correlate with a reduction in antibodies to food antigens. Rheumatology, 40(10), 1175-1179.

Lorig, K. (1994). Living a healthy life with chronic conditions: self-management of heart disease, arthritis, stroke, diabetes, asthma, bronchitis, emphysema & others. Bull Publishing Company.

Willett, W. (2011). Eat, drink, and be healthy: the Harvard Medical School guide to healthy eating. Simon and Schuster.

Tedeschi, S. K., & Costenbader, K. H. (2016). Is There a Role for Diet in the Therapy of Rheumatoid Arthritis?. Current Rheumatology Reports, 18(5), 1-9.

Whitney, E., & Rolfes, S. R. (2015). Understanding nutrition. Nelson Education.

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: April 24, 2016
Last updated: April 24, 2016