What Is The Effect Of Diet On New-Onset RA in Women?

Studies show that the risk of New-Onset Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) developing in women as young as in their 20s, is on the rise.

A woman’s diet is important. But how effective is it to the prevention of this condition?

RA and New-Onset RA.

Arthritis is generally associated with being an ailment found in older people, involving painful and swollen joints affecting movement. Yet, for many it is an autoimmune condition that inhibits the entire body affecting some as young as their 20’s and 30’s. According to sources such as Health in 2014, RA then occurs in these patients, ‘which is when antibodies in the immune system (which normally work to fend off germs) attack the lining of your joints, causing pain, swelling, and warmth,’ limiting your movement.RA

Studies conducted by Mayo Clinic in 2010 discovered that ‘the rate of RA in women over the age of 18 increased 30% between 1995 and 2007,’ according to sources such as Health in 2014.

  • This progressive and painful disorder is under constant evaluation, as the causes of the rise in RA are unknown. However, recent studies have led doctors to believe that there is a possible link to specific foods that could be contributing to the increase in RA sufferers. Yet, there is no data proving universal-provoking foods.
  • Experts believe there is a direct link between RA and diet, but the results remain inconclusive. Hence why, it is highly recommended that RA sufferers-particularly women ages 55 and upwards, stick to a balanced diet that maintains a healthy weight, according to sources such as Johns Hopkins-Arthritis Center,

It is pertinent that drastic diet changes and fad nutritional practices are avoided.RA

Why does Menopause increase the severity of RA in Older Women?

Researchers are certain that hormones and hormonal changes impact women with RA, particularly during menopause and pregnancy.  Experts are not certain of the reason, yet it is evident that almost three times as many women suffer from the disease as men, according to sources such as WebMD.

The believed causes are:

  • Increased estrogen levels during pregnancy which reduces inflammation.
  • Decreased estrogen levels during menopause which heightens inflammation.

It’s vital that women maintain a healthy diet from a young age in order to limit the progression of RA when reaching menopause.

Are you an RA patient? Here are a few tips.

Photograph by Antonis Achilleos.

Foods to Avoid:

  • Excessive salt consumption.
  • Cut back on refined sugars.
  • Moderate alcohol consumption.
  • Limit saturated fats and omega 6 fatty acids. (corn, safflower, sunflower, soy and vegetable products made with these oils.)
  • Trans fats (beef and dairy.)
  • Caffeinated beverages.

Foods to Include:

  • Unprocessed foods.
  • Natural proteins.
  • Fruits.
  • Vegetables.
  • Cold-water fish such as salmon, mackerel, and herring containing omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Calcium.
  • Plant-based foods containing antioxidants and phytochemicals.
  • Vitamin D.

It’s also important to include regular physical activity into your daily routine in order to maintain or lose weight. This will lesson the impact on your joints and therefore reduce pain and inflammation.

Diet may not be the cure to New-Onset RA in women, however it is the solution to reducing its progression.


If you enjoyed reading this article, then read more on autoimmune diseases here.