Arthritis warning: ‘Excess’ consumption of a healthy food may trigger arthritis symptoms

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Rheumatoid arthritis is a long-term condition that causes pain, swelling and stiffness in the joints. There may be periods where symptoms become worse, known as flare-ups or flares. Certain dietary decisions can make inflammation worse so it is best to monitor your intake.

Dietary fats can influence inflammation, and one in particular may come as a surprise.

Omega-3 fatty acids are nutrients you get from food and supplements that provide a host of health benefits, such as reducing your risk of cardiovascular problems.

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“Omega-3 rich fish oil may show some benefit in inflammatory arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis,” notes Harvard Health.

However, “an excess of omega-3 fatty acids potentially can lower the amount of omega-6 fatty acids from sources such as corn, safflower and cottonseed oils,” warns the health body.

READ MORE: Arthritis symptoms: Four ‘weird and unusual’ signs of arthritis pain you might be missing

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Saturated Fat, which is found in meat, butter and cheese, raises your cholesterol levels.

“People with arthritis are more at risk for heart disease, so they need to be watching [their cholesterol levels],” said Christine McKinney, RD, a clinical dietitian at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, in an interview with the Arthritis Foundation (AF).

There might be one exception in the saturated fat category – coconut oil.

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This plant-based form of saturated fat has gained popularity in recent years, and animal studies have suggested it has anti-inflammatory properties.

“Unlike other saturated fats, coconut oil is made mostly of medium-chain fatty acids, and your body processes those differently,” explains the Arthritis Foundation (AF).

The AF continues: “While you don’t want to overdo it on coconut oil, small quantities might be okay.”

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In addition to tweaking your diet, you should stay active to alleviate arthritis symptoms.

Exercise can seem counterintuitive if you are suffering from painful inflammation.

However, “exercising regularly can help relieve stress, help keep your joints mobile, and strengthen the muscles supporting your joints,” notes the NHS.

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According to the health body, exercise can also help you lose weight if you’re overweight, which can put extra strain on your joints.

“Find the best activities and the right balance for you. It’s usually best to increase the amount of exercise you do gradually,” it advises.

“If you need more guidance, a physiotherapist is a good person to advise you on suitable types of exercise.”

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