Inflammation is the body's natural response to an attack, whether from an infection or some other irritant. And one of the markers of bodily inflammation is a blood protein known as C-reactive protein. Basically, the higher your level of C-reactive protein, the more inflammation is occurring somewhere in your body. Since rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory disease, it makes sense for arthritis patients to try to keep their C-reactive protein levels down. Here are some (relatively) painless ways to do it:

  • Fruits and vegetables. Most people know that fiber aids digestion. But now it seems that the fiber found in fruits and vegetables also lowers levels of C-reactive protein. Scientists at the Medical University of South Carolina conducted a study in which people ate a high-fiber diet of 27 or 28 grams per day. All saw their C-reactive protein levels drop. The scientists aren't sure exactly how the fiber reduces the C-reactive protein levels, and they aren't ready to declare a definitive connection between eating fruits and vegetables and a reduction in rheumatoid arthritis cases and symptoms, but other studies have found a link between produce and lower C-reactive protein levels. The bottom line? Go for the most colorful eats in the farmer's market for your best health.
  • Exercise. Working out has many benefits, of course, not the least of which may be a reduction in C-reactive protein. Several studies have found a link between exercise and lower C-reactive protein levels. So lace up those sneakers and go for a brisk walk, take a swim in the pool, climb onto a stationary bike, or take a yoga or Pilates class. The most important thing you can do is to keep moving.
  • Krill oil. Krill is a marine invertebrate similar to shrimp. While krill is not necessarily popular on menus nationwide, its oil is garnering attention for its purported health benefits. One recent study involved 90 patients who suffered from either arthritis or cardiovascular disease. Part of the group took krill oil every day and part took a placebo. After one week, C-reactive protein levels were reduced by more than 19 percent in the krill-oil takers versus increasing more than 15 percent in the placebo group. The scientists concluded that krill oil definitely tamps down inflammation and provides relief of arthritis symptoms.


National Institutes of Health,

The Pritikin Longevity Center + Spa,

American Heart Association,

The Cooper Institute,