Arthritis is a common condition that causes pain and inflammation in a joint. Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the main types of arthritis in the UK. Not many people are aware that using certain cooking oils can either help or hinder the condition.
Sara Haas, a Chicago-based dietitian, chef and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, says some cooking oils can help prevent inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Speaking to Arthritis Foundation, she recommends avocado oil.
The pale green oil is rich in monounsaturated fats, which can lower heart disease and stroke risks.
Research also suggests avocado oil has an anti-inflammatory effect.
Sara recommends other oils to help joint pain:
It’s high in monounsaturated fats and anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds, olive oils are among the best-studied fats, with many known health benefits.
This oil is high in polyunsaturated fatty acids, including alpha-linoleic acid. These fatty acids can also lower levels of C-reactive protein, a measure of body-wide inflammation.
Regular exercise is also recommended as a natural cure and, particularly for rheumatoid arthritis, lap swimming has been proven to help.
Arthritis Foundation explains why this type of swimming is so good for arthritis sufferers.
Although they are found in very small amounts naturally in beef and dairy products, manufacturers create most trans fats when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil.
This process keeps the oil solid at room temperature and extends its shelf life.
You’ll find trans fats in commercial baked goods, fried foods and margarine. Ideally, you should consume no added trans fats at all.
“Both trans fats and saturated fats raise LDL, or bad cholesterol, but trans fats are a little more villainous, because they also reduce HDL, or good cholesterol.
“That dual effect raises the risk of heart disease,” says Cindy Moore, a dietitian and nutrition therapy director at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation.
There is currently no cure for osteoarthritis, but one particular lifestyle intervention has been shown to alleviate pain and stiffness in two of the most commonly affected joints – the knees and hips.
According to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging, a Mediterranean diet can reduce markers of inflammation and improve knee flexion and hip rotation in people with osteoarthritis.
The knee flexion is the measurable degree in which your leg (and knee joint) can bend.
The study, commissioned by UK charity Arthritis Action, examined the effects of a Mediterranean type diet on 99 patients with osteoarthritis.
How to treat rheumatoid arthritis
There are proven ways to alleviate the symptoms and improve quality of life.
According to the Arthritis Foundation (AF), a balanced, nutritious diet consisting of the recommended amounts of all the food groups helps promote wellness and makes it easier to maintain a healthy weight.
Maintaining a healthy weight is key to managing arthritis because it eases the pressure placed on joints.
Exercise can aid weight loss while providing direct benefits for rheumatoid arthritis.