Healthy Living

Does Diet Affect RA Symptoms?

Does Diet Affect RA Symptoms?

If you have rheumatoid arthritis, finding a way to minimize symptoms is important. There is a lot of information out there. Diet can impact many medical conditions. How does diet affect this disorder? Let’s explore the facts and see if there is evidence that a healthy diet and certain foods can alleviate symptoms.

General Diet

Several studies have found that certain foods may impact rheumatoid arthritis. As with many other conditions, a healthy diet will minimize inflammation. Being overweight can contribute to rheumatoid arthritis. To prevent weight gain, control portions and consume the recommended number of calories. What types of foods healthy diet include? Eating a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, dairy, and grains is recommended. Beyond a generally healthy diet, you might wonder if eating certain foods will alleviate symptoms. The challenge is that everyone is slightly different. There is no food that is a cure for rheumatoid arthritis. Since each patient has different manifestations of the symptoms, one person may find a food helpful. Another may not feel any positive effects from eating the same food. As a result, this method is somewhat trial and error to see what helps you the best.


There are a few spices that have been noted as helpful to rheumatoid arthritis. Turmeric is a spice in the ginger root family. From Asia, it contains an ingredient called curcumin. Curcumin reduces inflammation. Since inflammation is a major symptom of RA, many people find this spice helpful. Several foods contain turmeric, but mustard is the easiest source. Beyond turmeric, ginger has valuable properties. It also stops inflammation in the body through a part of the spice called a gingersol. Essential oils from the spice also play a part. There is one element of ginger that should be cautioned against. This spice is a blood thinner, so it may interact with your medications. Research and talk to your doctor before adding larger quantities to your diet.


Like spices, there are serval fruits that have helpful properties. These fruits are an easy remedy that you can buy at the grocery store. Pineapple is one example of a helpful fruit. The stem contains bromelain, which reduces inflammation through digestion. However, you cannot eat the stem. This means you will have to get a supplement with bromelain in it. Cherries and pomegranates have properties that impact rheumatoid arthritis. For some, eating these fruits is not easy due to the sour taste. Antioxidants are present in both, which protect the cells from damage. In the case of cherries, it also reduces nitric acid. Nitric acid is a buildup in the muscles that can be painful for those with rheumatoid arthritis. Citrus fruits have also shown some promise to reduce inflammation through citric acid.

Green tea

Like some fruits, green tea is very high in antioxidants. While green tea is great with assisting patients with many conditions, rheumatoid arthritis patients may find relief with it. There has been limited research so far, but some evidence exists that it may help with inflammation. However, like ginger, the green tea may thin the blood. You will have to evaluate its effects with your doctor.


Fish is a food that has shown a lot of promise in alleviating rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. Specifically, it is the fish oil that is particularly helpful. Fish contains omega 3 acids. These acids are great in reducing the inflammation from a rheumatoid arthritis flare up. For fish or fish oil, it is recommended that you consume a dose a few times a week. To harness the natural properties of fish, it is recommended that you eat three to four ounces each time. Salmon is a classic choice to eat that is rich in omega 3 acids. If you do not like salmon, several other choices exist. This include: herring, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, and trout.


Oils, including olive oil, have tons of valuable properties. Extra virgin olive oil contains oleocanthal, which will help with pain and inflammation. Beyond olive oil, walnut oil has omega 3 acids. These will help with reduction of inflammation. Safflower oils reduce cholesterol, which may help your overall health. Avocado oil has a similar effect. Since cholesterol is related to weight, these foods might help reduce the chances of becoming overweight. They are also easy to add to your diet, since you can cook with them.


Some people are not the greatest fans of fish. Whether it is the taste or texture, everyone responds differently to certain foods. For those who want the omega 3’s, there is another option. Soy is rich in omega 3’s. You can eat soy in a variety of foods, including soybeans, edamame, and tofu. Drinking soy with soymilk can also help you consume enough soy to reduce inflammation. Since soy is a healthy choice, it may also help you control your weight and gain energy. This will help you decrease inflammation and pain.


Parsley is not a food that you typically eat in large quantities every day. It is primarily used to flavor food as a garnish. Parsley contains a component called luteolin. This has been shown to reduce inflammation. There are many ways to incorporate parsley into your meals. It might be worth considering combinations that allow you to consume enough parsley to get the positive effects of luteolin.

Grains and Beans

With all of the hype regarding low carb diets, many people might overlook this option. Grains are great for reducing inflammation. This is because it contains a C-reactive protein. Focus on whole grains, as mixtures may not have as many valuable effects. There are several grains that could be incorporated into your diet. These include: oatmeal, brown rice and whole-grain cereals. Whole grains are also great for weight control and diabetes. Controlling weight and diabetes will curb more swelling from occurring. Along with grains, beans also have the C-reactive protein. Beans also contain folic acid and iron, which are good for bones. There are several types of bean to consume, but red beans, kidney beans, and pinto beans are recommended for those with rheumatoid arthritis.

Vitamins and Supplements

New diet ideas are constantly taking hold. Seeds of certain plants have properties that help with pain. These plants include the evening primrose, borage and black currant. The reason that these plants seeds are helpful is that they contain a type of fatty acid. Fatty acids help with rheumatoid arthritis pain and morning stiffness. There are many other vitamins that are healthy for you. Overall, their effects may lead to a reduction in symptoms by reducing conditions associated with rheumatoid arthritis.

The Bottom Line

Unfortunately, diet alone cannot cure rheumatoid arthritis. With a little help from a healthy diet, your symptoms can be decreased. Talk to your doctor about the symptoms you are experiencing. Beyond medication, they might also be able to suggest some natural remedies. Another place to gather information may be a natural foods or vitamin store. While they might not be as familiar with rheumatoid arthritis, they might have helpful suggestions for inflammation and pain management. Whatever you decide, there are many tools out there to research different combinations of foods. Just be careful to avoid interfering with your medications.