Got Rheumatoid Arthritis? Go Greek!

Mediterranean-style eating—low in saturated fat, high in fruits, vegetables and fish—may lessen joint pain by reducing RA-related inflammation. Learn how to incorporate this diet into your life!

Winnie Yu
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A review study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association looked at more than 350 people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who followed various diet plans—vegetarian, fasting and Mediterranean-style, among others. The findings: After three months, the Mediterranean diet came out on top. Mediterranean, fasting and lacto-vegetarian eating (a vegetarian diet that includes dairy products) all seemed to reduce RA pain. However, since fasting and lacto-vegetarian eating may not be appropriate for many people over long periods of time, the Mediterranean diet may be the best bet for most people with RA. Plus, this diet lowers the risk of high cholesterol and heart disease. So, start eating!

7 tips for Mediterranean eating

  1. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and legumes—all naturally high in fiber, antioxidants and other nutrients.
  2. Make animal protein—meat, poultry, eggs and dairy—less central to your meals. Veggies rule!
  3. Eat fish at least twice a week.
  4. Replace butter with healthy fats, like olive oil.
  5. Use herbs and spices instead of salt to add flavor.
  6. Drink alcohol in moderation.
  7. Cut back on saturated fat and trans fat by eating less red meat, processed snack food and commercially baked goods.
April 2013