Many health professionals and respected medical institutes dispute that there's any such thing as an "arthritis diet." Some arthritis sufferers, however, claim that eliminating certain foods from their diet sent their condition into remission. What should you believe?

To be healthy in general you need a balanced diet. It's especially important if you're living with a chronic condition such as arthritis. Sticking to recommendations from the American Food Guide is a good place to start. Here are a few additional nutrition changes you can make to help alleviate your symptoms:

Balance Your Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids found abundantly in fish can relieve morning stiffness and joint tenderness in people with rheumatoid arthritis. A study published in the Arthritis & Rheumatism journal showed that patients who were given fish oil experienced improvement in joint pain intensity, handgrip strength, morning stiffness and onset of fatigue.

These healthy fats have anti-inflammatory properties, which could explain their effect on arthritis. Unfortunately, most North Americans do not get enough omega 3 fats in their diet. Prepackaged and fast foods contain more omega-6 fatty acids, which are linked to inflammatory and immune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.

To relieve your symptoms, you need to get more omega 3s. Good sources include fish such as salmon, herring and sardines, flaxseeds, and nuts. Try to get about three to five servings of fish per week. If you take supplements, follow the dosage on the bottle. If you have any other medical condition, speak to your doctor before increasing your fatty acid intake beyond these levels.

Eliminate Trigger Foods
Several surveys of arthritis sufferers show that skipping certain foods, such as dairy, may provide relief from the disease.

In one survey published in the Journal of Rheumatology, people reported that several foods exacerbated their symptoms. These foods included caffeine, nightshade plants (tomatoes, eggplant, peppers), red meat, salt, and sugar. When these foods were avoided completely, symptom improved within weeks.

But, trigger foods are different for each person. To see which foods affect your arthritis most, start by eliminating one food at a time to see if your symptoms improve. Slowly add it back into your diet to test if your symptoms worsen. If they do, you may want to avoid that food in future.

Cut the Caffeine
You may be used to those daily cups of java, but a recent study confirms that caffeine can interfere with RA treatment. The study published in the Arthritis & Rheumatism found that over 180 mg of caffeine per day reduced the effectiveness of the drug methotrexate.

The average cup of coffee contains 120 mg. Other beverages such as tea and colas contain caffeine. Be sure to monitor your intake and consider replacing it with more arthritis-friendly brews such as green tea or chamomile.

Limit Meat />Several reports have emerged showing a link between a vegan diet and improved arthritis symptoms. If you can make the switch there are several additional benefits to becoming a vegan, including lower risk of diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

The reality is that most people find it hard to stick to this strict diet. If you still want to enjoy arthritis benefits, limit your meat intake to one or two portions per week. Instead, eat more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds and fish.