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If you have arthritis, you surely know that there are things that can both make symptoms worse and things you can do to lessen those same unpleasant problems. This includes adopting a certain diet. Fortunately, a study has now determined the best eating habit for reducing arthritis symptoms.

In the study published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, the researchers looked at 32 women with an average age of 57 who were fully able to follow the required program which involved following a low-fat, vegan diet for a period of 16 weeks. Beyond that, participants removed foods known to cause rheumatoid arthritis (RA) symptoms. This included citrus and chocolate as well as nuts and gluten.

At the end of the study, the researchers found that the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis in women, such as painful and swollen joints, were much less severe.


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According to the study’s lead author, Neal D. Barnard, MD, an internal medicine specialist and assistant professor of medicine at George Washington University, the results of these eating habits can be “a life-changing experience for people.” “.

Dana Ellis Hunnes PhD, MPH, RD, senior clinical dietitian at UCLA Medical Center, assistant professor at UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, and author of Recipe for survival with Cambridge University Press (2022), tells Eat this, not that! Rheumatoid arthritis “is probably mediated by inflammation, ie more inflammation, more severe symptoms”. Therefore, “an anti-inflammatory diet such as the one in this study would therefore decrease symptoms because it decreases inflammation”.

“It makes sense that eliminating inflammatory foods would reduce the severity of rheumatoid arthritis symptoms,” says Hunnes, adding that “it also makes sense that a whole-grain vegan diet rich in whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes , vegetables, fruits, avoiding inflammatory animal protein foods would reduce symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.”

Hunnes notes that “if you can manage ‘rheumatoid arthritis’ with an anti-inflammatory diet, instead of (or with a lower dose) medication, that’s the best benefit you can have.”

To learn more about how your diet can help relieve some of the symptoms you may be experiencing, be sure to read The 40 Best Foods That Fight Arthritis.

Desiree O

Desirée O is a freelance writer who covers, among other things, lifestyle, food and nutrition news. Read more