Do certain foods increase your risk of rheumatoid arthritis?

Researchers determine whether certain foods may be linked to an increased likelihood of developing rheumatoid arthritis.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, rheumatoid arthritis is a disease wherein the body’s immune system attacks the joints, creating inflammation within them. This inflammation can damage cartilage, leading to loose, unstable, and painful joints. Inflammation due to rheumatoid arthritis commonly affects the hands, feet, wrists, elbows, knees, and ankles. It can also affect the heart and lung systems. Moreover, despite conflicting results, researchers suggest that diet may influence an individual’s risk for rheumatoid arthritis.

In a recent study published in Clinical Rheumatology, Masoume Rambod and colleagues wanted to determine whether certain diets impacted the development of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). For the study, they recruited 500 patients with RA and 500 participants without RA. They recruited these patients from three clinics of the University of Medical Sciences in Iran from 2015 to 2016.

They conducted a survey to establish a relationship between diet and the disease. The survey asked about the participants’ consumption of different beverages and items within the nutritious and non-nutritious diet list. Items in the survey included green tea, coffee, fruits, vegetables, full-fat milk, and fried foods.

Participants with rheumatoid arthritis had significantly different dietary habits

Rambod found that the difference between the intake of green tea, coffee, and soda was significantly different between participants with RA and participants without RA. They found that healthy participants drank more green tea and coffee per month than those with RA. They also found that around 64% of RA participants drink soda compared to the 59% of healthy participants.

Regarding diets, the researchers found significant differences in the consumption of non-nutritious food items between the two groups. Participants with RA consume more full-fat milk, fried food, butter, solid oils, and spicy foods than the healthy group. The study also noted that RA participants and healthy participants do not differ with regards to nutritious diet consumption.

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