4 Foods To Manage Rheumatoid Arthritis

Written by GHBY Team on Thu, 22 December 2022 — Fact checked by Dr. Pulyk Nataliya Omelanivna

Key Highlights

  • An ongoing inflammatory condition that affects the joints is rheumatoid arthritis.
  • The development of rheumatoid arthritis may be influenced by genetics, hormones, and environmental factors.
  • The DASH diet and the Mediterranean diet are the two main eating plans that are thought to have anti-inflammatory effects.

Inflammation that persists over time is not good for your body. Inflammation doesn't go away if you have an autoimmune disease, are obese, or experience chronic stress. It continues, harming the body and possibly causing issues like cancer, heart disease, or arthritis.

A proper diet may be able to stop this inflammatory process, safeguarding your body from damage. There are still a lot of questions about how your diet affects the inflammation present in your body. But there is mounting proof of a potential advantage. 

In this blog, let us look at foods to manage rheumatoid arthritis. 

Rheumatoid arthritis: What is it?

Rheumatoid arthritis is a long-lasting inflammatory condition that impacts the joints.  
Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include pain and stiffness of multiple joints whereas signs of rheumatoid arthritis sensation of are warmth, redness, and swelling of the joints. 

The affected areas may develop damage, malformation, and misalignment over time. Thick tissue that lines the joint has the potential to spread and erode nearby ligaments, cartilage, and bone over time.  
If one knee or hand has rheumatoid arthritis, the other typically does too. This is because the condition typically manifests itself in a symmetrical pattern.

Why do I have rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis has an elusive etiology. 

  • Genetics, hormones, and environmental factors may all play a role in its development, according to researchers. A trigger could be an infection, smoking, or emotional or physical stress. 
    Your risk of getting rheumatoid arthritis is influenced by both non-genetic and genetic variations. Sex and contact with irritants and pollutants are examples of non-genetic factors thus included in the list of causes of rheumatoid arthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis risk is higher in individuals born with different variants in the HLA (human leukocyte antigen) genes. Your immune system uses HLA genes to distinguish between proteins made by your body and proteins produced by foreign invading forces like bacteria and viruses.

Picking the appropriate diet

Two main dietary regimens are considered to have anti-inflammatory effects: namely, the DASH diet and the Mediterranean diet. 

Working forward towards a nearly identical eating regimen that has been proven to enhance health — lots of fruits and vegetables; healthy fats, like olive oil; whole grains; and lean protein, fish, and legumes — is another way to use the Alternative Healthy Eating Index, which evaluates diet quality. 

Many of the foods found in a Western-style diet, such as overly processed, food and drinks with added sugar, as well as red and processed meats, are excluded from these diets.

Researchers have found that people who regularly choose an anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle experience lower levels of various indicators of inflammation within the bloodstream, such as a substance known as C-reactive protein. The opposite result has been observed in people who follow a Western-style diet.

Over time, adopting an anti-inflammatory dietary plan may reduce your risk of developing gout by up to as 60%. You don't have to select one food to treat one condition and another to prevent another condition. Picking a nutritious lifestyle may provide wide-ranging health advantages, thus preventing several conditions.

Foods that help in managing rheumatoid arthritis

It is difficult to prevent rheumatoid arthritis. Smoking, however, increases your risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.  
However, eating the right foods, and maintaining a steady and nutritious diet that includes foods that have anti-inflammatory properties can help in managing the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

Bright colored vegetables and fruits 

  • Citrus fruits like oranges and tangerines, bell peppers, pumpkins, and papayas are just a few examples of colorful fruits and vegetables that contain the carotenoids beta-cryptoxanthin and zeaxanthin. 
  • According to some studies, diets high in carotenoids reduce inflammation. A Swedish study conducted on patients with rheumatoid arthritis found that following a Mediterranean diet for three months—one high in fruits and vegetables—reduced inflammation and improved joint function. 
  • 7 to 9 servings of vegetables and fruits should be consumed each day.

Vitamin D fortified milk and orange juice

managing rheumatoid arthritis with food.

  • Low levels of vitamin D in the blood have been linked to an increased risk of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis in studies. 
  • Currently, adults should consume 600 to 800 International Units (IU) per day, according to the Institute of Medicine (IOM). Many professionals recommend 1,000 IU per day.
  • There aren't many foods that are especially high in vitamin D. Oily fish, fortified milk, and orange juice are a few of these. Including such drinks and foods for rheumatoid arthritis can prove beneficial in the long run.

Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids

  • Walnuts, ground flax, flaxseeds, and, to a lesser extent, green leafy vegetables are other sources of omega-3s that are less potent than fish.

Foods rich in polyphenol

managing rheumatoid arthritis with food.

  • Polyphenol is known to possess anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Beverages like tea and coffee, and a few fruits like apples and berries, all contain polyphenols which is a plant chemical.


Other than the above mentioned foods to manage rheumatoid arthritis, few other foods like dark chocolate, whole grains high in fiber, legumes, monounsaturated fats like those found in walnuts, flaxseeds, and chia seeds as well as fish like salmon, herring, sardines, and mackerel, etc. are all listed under superfoods for bone health.  
Consuming a few of these on a daily and in different combinations can, not only help in boosting bone health but also maintain the overall health of an individual.



GHBY Team comprises content writers and content editors who specialise in health and lifestyle writing. Always on the lookout for new trends in the health and lifestyle space, Team GHBY follows an audience-first approach. This ensures they bring the latest in the health space to your fingertips, so you can stay ahead in your wellness game. 

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