Researchers in Sweden show that the Mediterranean diet helps to control pain in rheumatoid arthritis.

Arthritis means that a person has swollen or painful joints. The type of fat that you eat forms chemicals called prostaglandins. Some prostaglandins cause inflammation: redness, itching, swelling and pain that worsen arthritis. Other prostaglandins help prevent and treat inflammation. The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and in seeds such as flaxseed, wheat or soybeans, help to reduce inflammation. So do monounsaturated fats found in many vegetables and in olive oil, the primary oil used in the Mediterranean region. The Mediterranean diet is based on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and other seeds, and fish; all foods that could help to reduce inflammation. The authors showed that people with rheumatoid arthritis who ate the Mediterranean diet had far less joint pain and swelling, and were able to be more active. We await further confirmatory studies.

An experimental study of a Mediterranean diet intervention for patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, 2003, Vol 62, Iss 3, pp 208-214. L Skoldstam, L Hagfors, G Johansson. Hagfors L, Umea Univ, Dept Food & Nutr, S-90187 Umea, SWEDEN

Checked 9/3/05

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