Does Anti-Inflammatory Diet have a role in rheumatoid arthritis?


If you are suffering from rheumatoid arthritis (RA), you of course know how painful the condition it can be. This condition is characterized by painful and swollen joints; and it can affect anyone regardless of age. RA is quite different from osteoarthritis; a condition that results from the natural wearing down of joints with aging. On the part of RA, the wearing down of joints is as a result of your own immune system starts attack your joints. However, the underlying cause of this attack is not known. The result of this condition is painful stiffness, swelling and inflammation of your joints.

RA and Your Diet

If is difficult to cure RA because no one knows the exact cause of this disease. Some of the Traditional treatment for this condition involves the use of anti-inflammatory medications, painkillers as well as those medications that will suppress the immune system. However, with these treatments, you can develop negative side effects. Most of the patients with RA are starting to turn to alternative methods of treatment which include change of diet. Those foods that are able to reduce inflammation throughout the body could also reduce the swelling and pain in your joints.

Eat foods with Omega-3 Fatty Acids

There are some foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids; an acid that has an anti-inflammatory effect. Some of the foods rich in this mineral include fatty fish like herring, salmon, mackerel and tuna or you can take a fish oil supplement. Incase fish is not your favorite food; try to take more nuts like almonds and walnuts. Alternatively, you can grind up flax seeds and add them to your yogurt, cereal or baked foods.

Add Antioxidants

Oxidation is a natural process that is associated with cell and tissue damage leading to formation inflammatory arthritis. Antioxidants such as vitamins E, C, carotene, flavonoids and lycopene slow down this process. Foods rich in this antioxidant effect include colorful vegetables and fruits, leafy greens (e.g. beets, blueberries spinach and kale and cranberries), green tea, red wine, dark chocolate, Beans, nuts and certain spices like ginger, cinnamon and turmeric .

Supplements are other diets that become improver your arthritic condition. Omega-3 fish oil supplements have been proved to have the ability to improve tenderness, pain and stiffness associated to rheumatoid arthritis. For proper medication, Research shows that about 2.7 grams a day are required.

It has not been known whether supplemental forms of vitamin of E, C and other antioxidants do have any affect on RA; this is an area where more research is required. Note: before you start any form of supplement as a medication to RA, you are required to talk to your doctor.

How does a healthy diet based on plenty of healthy fats, plant foods and several fish times a week sound to you? This is a healthy eating pattern that has long been recommended as remedy for the development of high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes, and sometimes preventing unwanted weight

Fill Up on Fiber

According to various research reports, foods high in fiber have the ability to reduce the amount of C-reactive protein (CRP) in the blood. 0CRP is an indicator that shows the level of inflammation in your body.

You can get more fiber in your diet if you include foods like fresh vegetables and fruits, whole beans, grains and nuts. In particular, Strawberries seem to reduce CRP when you add fiber to your diet. You can attempt to eat them while fresh or frozen.

Include Flavonoids in your diet

Flavonoids are substances that are only made from plants. You normally get them in your body through eating fruits and vegetables. Flavonoids are good in reducing inflammation in your body and in return this can help reduce RA pain and swelling in your joints.

Some of the foods rich in flavonoids include grapes, broccoli, berries, green tea and soy. Alternatively, you can take Chocolate because it is also rich in flavonoids; but stick with dark chocolate because it has a high percentage of cacao and low amount of sugars.

Spice up Meals

Although some of the spices feel inflammatory, certain types of them spices actually reduce inflammation in the body. For example, Turmeric which is very common in Indian food contains a compound known as curcumin which has anti-inflammatory properties. This compound is related to ginger which has a similar effect.

Alternatively, Capsaicin is another compound found in chili peppers; and it also helps to reduce inflammation in the body. Based on the National Institutes of Health, this compound is also known to act as an effective pain reliever.

The Mediterranean Diet

Naturally, certain diets are high in anti-inflammatory foods. Some of these are the Mediterranean diet. This diet is based on eating a diet of fresh vegetables and fruits, whole olive oil and grains.

The Paleo Diet

Paleo diet has become one of the trends of eating nowadays. This is actually all about eating plenty of vegetables, meat and fruits, and at the same time avoiding cultivated dairy, grains, sugars and processed foods. Just like in other trendy foods, this particular diet is also high in protein and low in carbohydrates.

This diet does promote the consumption of some types of foods that reduce inflammation such as fruits and vegetables. Since this diet also includes more red meat which might lead to opposite effects you are required to consult with your doctor before trying it.

Avoid Trigger Foods

As you endeavor to increase the consumption of foods that reduce inflammation, you also need to try to avoid foods that can increase inflammation. Some of the foods that can increase inflammation include processed carbohydrates such as white flour and white sugar.

Drink More Alcohol?

Although this one sounds like a joke, by drinking alcohol in a moderate way you may actually reduce your inflammation. It has been proved that Alcohol can drop CRP levels, but it can have an opposite effect if you end up drinking excess of it. You need to discuss this with your doctor before making a decision of taking more alcohol.


Maroon, J.C., Bost, J. W., and Maroon, A. (2010, December 13). Natural Anti-Inflammatory Agents for Pain Relief. Surg. Neurol. Int., 2010; 1: 80. Retrieved July 30, 2013, from

The RA Diet: Anti-Inflammatory and Nutritious. (2009, August 12). Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved July 30, 2013, from


Churchill Otieno
Churchill Otieno, holds a degree in Communications and Public Relations. He is an accomplished independent researcher, experienced, professional writer based in Chicago, IL past Mombasa, Kenya. He is an author and publisher for Consumer Health Digest - Joint Pain Center category since 2013. He has an additional credentials in health and lifestyle fitness. He has been writing articles on health for more than two years with interest on bone, joint health, arthritis, osteoarthritis etc. He is also a contributor to and many other popular websites. His mission is to educate, empower and advocate people whose lives have changed due to arthritis joint pain. He also strive to support the families and caregivers as they learn how to advocate and care for the afflicted person.