Healthy Eating to Ease Arthritis
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A recent study in Sweden has found that a Mediterranean diet a diet that is high in fruits, vegetables, legumes and olive oil may help improve the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Over a period of three months during the study, significant improvements were seen for sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis, including less pain and less inflammation.
Another study in the USA has suggested that citrus fruits and zinc supplements may also play a role in improving the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. The researchers found that those who had included higher levels of citrus fruits, such as oranges and grapefruits, in their diet over a number of years had a decreased risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. Those who took zinc supplements were also at a decreased risk.
One of the authors of the study, Dr James Cerhan of the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, is cautious, however, about recommending that we rush out and buy zinc supplements, saying that further studies are required. What he does recommend is including more fruit and vegetables in our diets. "Here's another reason to eat your fruits and vegetables," he said. "Not only can they protect you from chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease, but now they may also prevent rheumatoid arthritis."
The Arthritis Foundation of Australia (Victorian branch) suggests that there is no single food to eat or avoid, or dietary regime to follow that will make your symptoms disappear or cure your arthritis. They do suggest, however, that balancing all aspects of your lifestyle, including diet, will help to optimise your health. The Foundation also remains open to the idea that as further research reveals more connections between diet and health, it is possible that stronger connections between particular foods and arthritis may emerge.
Here are some common questions about food and arthritis, answered by the Arthritis Foundation:
Do certain foods cause or aggravate arthritis?
People with gout ineffectively eliminate uric acid, a waste product, from the body. Therefore they need to eliminate or reduce foods in the diet that are high in purines from their diet. These foods include organ meats, anchovies, sardines, broth, roe, yeast, consommé and leguminous vegetables.
Can certain foods help arthritis?
While recent evidence suggests that some vitamins and other nutrients can ease arthritis symptoms, the best way to ensure you are getting these vitamins is to eat a diet that includes lots of fruits and vegetables.
Does weight affect arthritis?
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Last updated: March 31st, 2003
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