Eating at least one weekly serving of fish – of any kind – seems to help cut the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis by 35 percent, and regular long-term (for at least a decade) consumption of omega-3 fatty acids from oily fish such as salmon reduces the risk by 50 percent. This finding, from a study at Sweden’s famed Karolinska Institutet, supports the conclusions from an earlier Swedish study showing a 20 percent reduction in the risk of rheumatoid arthritis among both men and women who reported eating at least one serving of fatty fish per month.
The researchers reviewed detailed diet questionnaires completed by 32,232 midlife and older Swedish women, 205 of whom were diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis over an average of about eight years. The Karolinska team concluded that the lower risk of rheumatoid arthritis seen among participating women seemed to be associated with the omega-3s the women were getting from the fish in their diet. The investigators looked at how often the women reported eating fish, not their use of fish oil supplements.