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Studies Explore Link Between Diet, Rheumatoid Arthritis

A typical North American diet, that is one with lots of meat and not enough produce, makes it more like a person will develop rheumatoid arthritis.

Your diet may influence your chances of developing rheumatoid arthritis, two new studies suggest.

The results show “that a healthy diet may prevent [rheumatoid arthritis] development, and our team is interested in conducting further studies to look at why diet is associated with this risk,” said lead investigator Dr. Bing Lu, an assistant professor of medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston.

One study included nearly 94,000 American women, aged 25 to 42, who provided information about their diet every four years between 1991 and 2011. During that time, nearly 350 of them developed rheumatoid arthritis.

Those who ate a typical North American diet — high in red and processed meat, refined grains, fried food, high-fat dairy and sweets — were more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis than those who ate a diet high in fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, poultry and fish, the study found.

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