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Healthy Eating and Arthritis

Published on July 24, 2013, by in Dietitian.

What some people do not know is that healthy eating habits in general can help improve some of the symptoms of arthritis. For example, omega-3 fatty acids can be helpful for inflammatory arthritis (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis, reactive arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis). Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in mackerel, herring, salmon, trout, flaxseed, canola oil, soybean oil, and walnuts. However, cold water fish should be avoided if you suffer from gout, due to the high purine content.

Proper consumption omega-6 fatty acids can also help control inflammation. They can be found in safflower oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, eggs, and chicken. It is important to remember that our body needs a specific ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Research has shown that the Western diet tends to be deficient in omega-3 and excessive in omega-6. Too much omega-6 can actually increase inflammation. Depending on your current eating habits, you may need to reduce your intake of omega-6.

Antioxidants may also be helpful in reducing inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis and decreasing the progression of cartilage breakdown in osteoarthritis. Antioxidants are found in bright and colourful vegetables and fruit (e.g. peppers, spinach, beets, tomatoes, broccoli, blueberries, apples, oranges, avocado, etc.) The dietitian at Altima Wellness Centre can help you learn more if you are concerned about managing your arthritis with a healthy diet.