SIMONE GIBSON: Hi, Sue, I’m Simone. I’m the dietitian. How are you?
SIMONE GIBSON: So can I ask, has there been any food that you have found that make your rheumatoid arthritis any worse?
SUE: Yes, so I’ve heard that cutting out nightshades and things like red meat can be beneficial. So I’ve been trying that for the past few months. But it’s tricky to tell what’s working.
SIMONE GIBSON: Well, how about we talk about the nightshade family first. So yeah, there are things like potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, capsicum and things. And there is some information out there that some people do find that cutting out those foods can help with their rheumatoid arthritis. But it hasn’t really been proven in the scientific literature. Interestingly, some of those foods are actually high in anti-inflammatory components. So the skin of eggplant in particular has a lot of anti-inflammatory properties. And lycopene in tomatoes is also anti-inflammatory. So pro-inflammatory foods seem to be processed foods, and too much red meat, and saturated fat that’s associated with red meat.
There’s been quite a few studies that have shown that red meat might be pro-inflammatory, and it might make rheumatoid arthritis worse. Have you heard of the Mediterranean diet pattern?
SUE: I’ve heard it mentioned. I’m not really sure what it’s all about. I think there’s a lot of oil in it. But apart from that, I’m not familiar with what it’s actual properties are.
SIMONE GIBSON: OK. So it is it’s the dietary patterns that are followed by, traditionally, countries that are around the Mediterranean, hence its name– so, the traditional diets of people living in Greece, and Italy, south of France, and all that. So yeah, you’re right. It’s very high in olive oil. And it’s got fish and lots and lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. There’s also nuts and a small amount of dairy, and small amounts of red meat. And so they think that the synergistic effect of all of those different foods combined can increase the anti-inflammatory properties of the foods. So it’s not so much about, have this food, and don’t have that food. It’s looking at your whole diet pattern.
SUE: What about supplements? Is there particular vitamins or minerals that I should be adding?
SIMONE GIBSON: Until we know more, it’s probably better getting your nutrients from a range of foods, rather than a single supplement source. When we get things from just a single supplement, we’re only getting that one or two things that happen to be in the capsule or the powder, whereas if we’re getting our nutrients from foods, we’re getting it from that food matrix, which means that things are better absorbed. And we’re getting a range of compounds. And there’s also probably things in food that haven’t been discovered by science yet that might be beneficial. OK, Sue, so I think the best plan for you is perhaps following that Mediterranean dietary pattern. How do you feel about that?
SUE: Yeah it sounds like something I could definitely do. It doesn’t sound too restrictive. It sounds very delicious. I’m not a huge fish eater, so that’s something that I’ll have to look at adding in. But I think with a few good recipes up my sleeve, it’s definitely a way of eating.
SIMONE GIBSON: OK. So how about you come back and see me in three weeks, and see how you go. If you’ve got any questions in the meantime, just give me a call.
SUE: Fantastic. Yeah, I’ll see you soon.