Arthritis Sufferers Could Benefit From Mediterranean Diet

Following a Mediterranean diet may help people who suffer with rheumatoid arthritis improve their symptoms, a new study has revealed.
A number of studies have previously linked the Mediterranean style of eating to a lower risk of heart disease, but there has also been some evidence that suggests it could be beneficial for those with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
A Mediterranean diet includes eating traditional foods of the region such as high amounts of fruits, vegetables, fish and olive oil .
Some research has suggested that components of the diet, such as the healthy fats in olive oil, have anti-inflammatory effects, while it has also been proved that the diet helps shield body cells from damage as it its typically rich in antioxidants .
RA is caused by an errant immune system attack on the lining of the joints, which leads to chronic inflammation, stiffness and pain.
The new study, published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, was carried out by a group of UK researchers who tested the theory by splitting 130 women with RA into two groups. One group attended classes on Mediterranean-style eating, which included hands-on cooking instruction, while the other was only given written dietary information.
Researchers found that women who attended the classes not only increased their intake of fruits, vegetables, beans and monounsaturated fat (the type found in olive oil), but also reported improvements in pain, morning stiffness and overall health – over a six-month period that followed.
In contrast, women who received only written information made no significant diet changes, as a group, and as a result reported no improvements on their symptoms and overall health .
According to Dr. Gayle McKellar of Glasgow Royal Infirmary (lead study author) the women “undoubtedly” benefited from taking the class rather than simply getting written information.
Dr. McKellar added that the study found that the classes seemed to increase participants’ confidence and, in addition, offered them social interaction.
The next step for the group of researchers from Glasgow is to study the effects of these “healthy cooking classes” in a larger group, which will include people with health conditions other than RA.

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