Arthritis diet: The best type of diet to reduce inflammation and improve vitality

Ruth asks This Morning doctor about milk helping arthritis

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Arthritis is an incredibly common condition in the UK, affecting more than 10 million people. If you’ve been diagnosed with arthritis, you could benefit from following one particular diet dubbed one of the best anti-inflammatory diets to help reduce painful symptoms.

A study published in BMJ looked at the Mediterranean diet to help patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

The study involved patients with well controlled, although active rheumatoid arthritis for at least two years.

All patients were randomly allocated to the Mediterranean diet or a control diet.

Patients were then followed for the first three weeks whilst consuming either the Mediterranean or controlled diet at the outpatient clinic’s canteen.

Data showed patients on the Mediterranean diet showed an increase in vitality.

“The results indicate that patients with rheumatoid arthritis, by adjusting to a Mediterranean diet, did obtain a reduction in inflammatory activity, an increase in physical function, and improved vitality,” concluded the researchers.

The Mediterranean diet is frequently touted for its anti-aging and disease-fighting powers.

Studies confirm that eating foods commonly part of the Mediterranean diet can help arthritis by curbing inflammation.

The Mediterranean diet varies by country and region, so it has a range of definitions.

But in general, it’s high in vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, beans, cereals, grains, fish, and unsaturated fats such as olive oil and usually includes a low intake of meat and dairy foods.

Modulation of the Mediterranean diet on the immune factors was shown to provide protective effects against cardiovascular disease or cancer. 

Accumulation of oxidised low-density lipoprotein, starting in the fatty streaks, promotes the inflammatory response.

The Mediterranean diet is also rich in antioxidants, trace elements, minerals and vitamins which have anti-inflammatory properties reducing painful arthritis symptoms.

Nutritionist Nancy Clark said: “Eating an anti-inflammatory diet will help joints.

“We want to go toward more natural, closer to the earth, and less-processed foods, while avoiding fried and processed foods, trans fats, and charred meat, which increases inflammation.

“Foods such as cherries, red peppers, canned salmon, oatmeal and turmeric have also been proven to help with joints.”

The top ten most inflammatory foods which should be avoided to help reduce symptoms include:

  • Sugars
  • Common cooking oils
  • Trans fat
  • Dairy products
  • Feedlot-raised meat
  • Processed meat
  • Alcohol
  • Refined grains
  • Artificial food additives
  • Any foods which raise sensitivity.

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