Plant-based diets rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables and low in saturated fats, sodium and processed foods — basically a Mediterranean diet — might help reduce symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis.
But most research studies supporting this benefit were poorly designed, or depended on the test subjects' memories of what they had eaten, which could be faulty. And this type of diet often results in weight loss, which can independently reduce stress on joints and improve arthritis symptoms.
Some people have also tried eliminating certain foods from their diets — such as wheat, bacon or pork, milk, rye, beef, corn, or coffee. But the benefits of this practice have been difficult to quantify scientifically.
Avoiding certain foods that seem to worsen your symptoms may be worth trying, but don't exclude whole food groups or large numbers of foods without consulting a registered dietitian or your doctor.
Dec. 10, 2019
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- Paolino S, et al. Interactions between microbiota, diet/nutrients and immune/inflammatory response in rheumatic diseases: Focus on rheumatoid arthritis. Reumatologia. 2019; doi:10.5114/reum.2019.86425.
- Petersson S, et al. The Mediterranean diet, fish oil supplements and rheumatoid arthritis outcomes: Evidence from clinical trials. Autoimmunity Reviews. 2018; doi: 10.1016/j.autrev.2018.06.007.
- Arthritis and rheumatic diseases. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/arthritis-rheumatic-diseases#tab-living-with. Accessed Nov. 11, 2019.
- Panush RS. Complementary and alternative remedies for rheumatic disorders. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Nov. 11, 2019.
- Zeratsky KA (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic. Nov. 20, 2019.