Arthritis is a medical condition affecting joints. There are many forms of arthritis. Two of the most common are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.  Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) causes the joint lining to become inflamed and swollen resulting in the destruction of the joint surface whereas osteoarthritis is when cartilage is worn down and changes the shape of the bone which affects movement of the joint.

vegetable-1085065_640Diet can play a role in the management of arthritis
Evidence suggests that it is good to follow a Mediterranean diet: This diet is rich in fruit and vegetables, and includes more fish compared to a UK diet. Fats come more in monounsaturated forms such as olive and rapeseed oil. This diet is also high in fibre from sources such as beans and pulses.

Using more omega-3 polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats alongside a good intake of antioxidants which mainly come from fruit and vegetables may reduce inflammation and help reduce symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
Those particularly with rheumatoid arthritis need to ensure that they have a good intake of iron rich foods and eat these regularly. This is because people with RA are more prone to having anaemia as a result of inflammation or because of the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs .
Iron rich foods include lean red meat, green leafy vegetables, eggs, fortified breakfast cereals and peas, beans and lentils. Iron is more easily absorbed by the body if you have it with vitamin C. So make sure you have a vitamin C rich source in your meal such as a glass of orange juice, red peppers, potatoes or citrus fruits.
Calcium is another micronutrient that is important in the diet. This is particularly important in people with RA as it has been shown that they are at higher risk of getting osteoporosis. Calcium rich foods include animal sources such as low fat milk, yoghurt, cheese and non animal sources such as soya beans, green leafy vegetables and foods fortified with calcium such as breakfast cereals and fruit juice
All patients with arthritis should look to maintain a healthy weight: Excess body weight causes strain on the joints. If you are overweight or obese try and lose the weight through healthy eating and regular exercise.

Written by our new therapists Sue Force PhD, MSc Nutrition & Joanna Douglas BSc Nutrition. Sessions are available with Sue or Jo on Saturdays – call us on 0118 930 3535 or email to book an appointment.