Avoid These Foods if You Have Rheumatoid Arthritis
If you have rheumatoid arthritis, you should know that a growing body of research suggests that what you eat may play a role in reducing -- or exacerbating -- the inflammation and other symptoms that characterize rheumatoid arthritis.
Are there foods to avoid? Some types of omega-6 fatty acids, a kind of polyunsaturated fat that's found in many snack foods, fried foods, margarine, meats, corn oil and safflower oil, can increase inflammation.
Like omega-3s, however, omega-6s are essential for your health, so don't try to eliminate them from your diet. The key is to consume more omega-3s than omega-6s. A simple way to do this is to cut down on the amount of snack foods and meat that you eat.
There is also some evidence that frying or grilling meat at high temperatures produces compounds that can increase inflammation. Baking and broiling are better options; they're more heart healthy than frying.
If you suspect that certain foods worsen your symptoms, you may experience short-term benefit from trying an "elimination diet," in which you stop eating suspected trigger foods and then gradually add them back, noting any changes in your symptoms.
Unfortunately, there is no miraculous "rheumatoid arthritis diet." The key to getting the nutrients you need and maintaining a healthy weight is to eat a well-balanced diet. Current U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans emphasize fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and recommend choosing fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products, seafood (particularly fatty fish), lean meats and poultry, eggs, beans and peas, and nuts and seeds.
If you need to lose weight or are experiencing weight loss because your appetite is poor or you have other health problems, such as diabetes or heart disease, ask your doctor for a referral to a nutritionist for help planning healthy meals that address those needs as well. And, of course, always consult your doctor before starting a diet or taking any herbal or nutritional supplements.