A new study published in Frontiers in Nutrition provides a list of food items that may have clinical benefit in relieving symptoms and delaying progression of rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Researchers from KIIT University, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India, aimed to review  different diets and their mechanisms of actions in the possible remission and management of RA. They evaluated current literature and reported on dietary interventions and food items “that clearly indicate clinically and statistically significant and beneficial long-term effects for relieving symptoms, delaying disease progression and associated damages in RA patients,” the authors stated.

The results showed that fasting followed by vegan diet or a vegan diet alone may potentially reduce symptoms and disease activity in RA patients. A review of the Mediterranean diet showed reduced cartilage destruction, joint edema, and arthritis development with olive oil consumption in a mouse study. Studies examining an elemental diet reported reduced symptoms of RA but relapses on discontinuation; the aggravated symptoms in RA may be due to certain food allergens not found in the elemental diet. 

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“Treatment of RA includes inhibition of TNF-α and IL-1, and these inflammatory mediators are observed to be increased with the intake of allergenic food hence excluding some of these food from RA patient’s diet may benefit them as well as help them to reduce their requirement of recombinant human IL-1 receptor antagonist and anti-TNF-α antibodies,” the authors write.

Regarding food items, consumption of dietary fibers, vegetables, fruits, and spices as well as incorporating probiotics can help aid in the management of RA while reducing progression and symptoms, according to the study. Specific foods that were highlighted include dried plums, blueberries, pomegranates, whole grains, ginger, turmeric, specific oils, and teas; these foods were found to reduce inflammatory cytokines, joint stiffness, pain, and oxidative stress. 

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While the authors note that increasing the consumption of anti-inflammatory foods may not cure patients, incorporating these foods may help reduce disease activity, delay disease progression, and reduce joint damage, and may potentially lead to a reduction in drug therapy dose.

For more information visit frontiersin.org