What role does diet play in Rheumatoid Arthritis and Migraine?

Certain health conditions need specific diets to be followed to prevent worsening of the health. Rheumatoid arthritis and migraines are two health problems that might benefit from dietary restrictions. 

  • Eating a diet that will help control inflammation may help prevent triggering arthritis.
  • Migraines are generally not affected by the intake of almonds.
  • Eating a proper, nutritious diet catering to your health needs may prove beneficial.

Diet and nutrition are essential for good health. Doctors may advise people with health conditions such as hypertension or diabetes to avoid certain foods, intake more of others and stick to a diet to improve their overall health and avoid worsening health problems. Individuals who struggle with rheumatoid arthritis and chronic migraines are often advised to eat a diet that will help control inflammation and prevent any flaring up of their condition. 

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune inflammatory disease where the immune system attacks healthy cells in the body and causes inflammation (pain and swelling), particularly in the body’s joints. Usually, many joints are affected in rheumatoid arthritis, most often the joints of the hands, knees, and wrists.  While its specific cause is unknown, there are certain risk factors for developing it. These include age, genetics, and a history of smoking, among other things. 

 

A migraine is a headache that is recurring, chronic, and one-sided. It can cause intense throbbing pain and, in some cases, may cause the individual to have nausea, vomiting and interfere with their daily activities. Migraines can last from hours to days even, and sometimes people are aware they will get a migraine by having an aura, which is a type of symptom, before getting the migraine headache.

 

While we don’t know exactly why rheumatoid arthritis and migraines happen, certain things have been found to worsen or even trigger aspects of the condition. Diet may play an important role in helping control certain triggers.

 

Individuals with rheumatoid arthritis are often advised to avoid anything that may cause inflammation or worsen the inflammation they are already experiencing. Following an “anti-inflammatory diet” may help in this aspect.  

 

Some researchers believe eating a Mediterranean-style diet that includes plenty of olive oil may help in reducing inflammation. It was found that olive oil contains a compound called oleocanthal which helps to reduce inflammation in a way similar to how non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medications work. 

Eating citrus fruits may also help individuals with RA because these fruits contain vitamin C. Including berries and fruits high in antioxidants and fiber can also be beneficial for individuals with RA. Date palm fruits contain plenty of fiber, antioxidants, and other nutritious factors that may be beneficial for someone who has RA. 


Those who suffer from recurrent and frequent migraines may benefit from eating almonds. One study recognized a potential link between magnesium deficiency and the development of tension-type headaches and migraines. The study further stated that increasing the intake of magnesium may play a significant role in controlling future tension headaches or migraines from occurring. While it is not a complete treatment, incorporating foods such as almonds which contain magnesium, might benefit individuals who struggle with these symptoms.

Diet plays a significant role in controlling various chronic health conditions. Rheumatoid arthritis, though difficult to manage without medication, may be aided by incorporating foods that might help control inflammation. This includes foods that are high in fiber and antioxidant-rich, like dates. Similarly, those who suffer from chronic migraine may benefit from including almonds in their diet because almonds are high in magnesium content. Magnesium is thought to help prevent migraines and tension-type headaches.

Summary

Individuals with rheumatoid arthritis may struggle with pain and stiffness of the joints. While medication is usually the go-to method of controlling these symptoms, incorporating foods like dates that help control inflammation may also be beneficial. 

Those who struggle with tension-type headaches and chronic migraines might benefit from including more magnesium in their diet, which has been found to be deficient in individuals who experience these symptoms often. Intake of almonds high in magnesium content may also be helpful to aid their symptoms.

SCIENTIFIC INFORMATION:

  • Migraine Aura: symptoms which can occur before a  migraine sets in; can be a range of visual or physical symptoms
Written by:
Dr. Nimeshika Jayachandran
Physician and Medical Journalist
Reviewed by:
Registered Dietitian

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