Best Foods for Rheumatoid Arthritis Relief & Management

Welcome to our guide on the Rheumatoid Arthritis Best Food relief and management. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune disorder that can cause severe inflammation and pain in joints throughout the body. While there is no cure for RA, consuming a balanced diet may help manage its symptoms and improve overall health. In this section, we’ll discuss the importance of consuming the right foods for RA symptom management and highlight some of the best foods for reducing inflammation and joint pain.

Research shows that certain foods may help reduce inflammation and ease joint pain in people with RA. By incorporating these foods into your diet, you may be able to manage your symptoms more effectively. Let’s take a closer look at some of the best foods for rheumatoid arthritis relief and management.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

rheumatoid arthritis best food

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients that have been found to be beneficial in managing rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. These fatty acids work by reducing inflammation throughout the body, which can help ease joint pain and stiffness associated with RA.

Some of the best food sources of omega-3 fatty acids include fatty fish, such as salmon and mackerel, flaxseed, chia seeds, and walnuts. However, it’s important to note that some types of fish may contain high levels of mercury, so it’s best to limit intake to 2-3 servings per week.

For those who do not consume fish or nuts on a regular basis, there are also omega-3 supplements available. However, it’s always best to consult with a healthcare provider before adding any new supplements to your diet.

Adding Omega-3s to Your Diet

Incorporating more omega-3s into your diet can be simple and delicious. Try adding salmon to your dinner menu, snacking on a handful of walnuts, or sprinkling ground flaxseed on your morning oatmeal. You can also swap out vegetable oil for flaxseed or olive oil, both of which are high in omega-3s.

Overall, increasing your intake of omega-3 fatty acids through both food sources and supplements can be an effective way to manage rheumatoid arthritis symptoms and improve overall joint health.


Antioxidants are an important part of a rheumatoid arthritis diet as they help to reduce inflammation and slow down joint damage. They work by neutralizing harmful free radicals that can cause cellular damage and contribute to inflammation in the body.

Some of the top food sources of antioxidants include berries, tomatoes, and leafy greens. Berries, such as blueberries and strawberries, are high in anthocyanins, which have been shown to reduce inflammation. Tomatoes contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that has been linked to a reduced risk of joint damage from RA. Leafy greens, like spinach and kale, are packed with vitamins and minerals, along with antioxidants like carotenoids and flavonoids.

To incorporate more antioxidants into your diet, try adding a handful of berries to your breakfast, tossing sliced tomatoes into your lunchtime salad, or sautéing spinach as a side dish with dinner.

Additionally, consider incorporating antioxidant-rich spices like cinnamon and turmeric into your cooking. These spices have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, making them a great addition to any rheumatoid arthritis diet.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a crucial nutrient when it comes to managing rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. It has been shown to help reduce inflammation and improve joint health. Unfortunately, many people with RA don’t get enough Vitamin D from their diets alone. Sunlight is a great source of Vitamin D, but it’s not always possible to get enough through sun exposure alone, especially if you live in a northern climate or have darker skin.

The good news is that there are plenty of dietary sources of Vitamin D to choose from. Fatty fish like salmon and tuna are great options, as are egg yolks and fortified dairy products like milk and yogurt.

Food Serving Size Amount of Vitamin D
Salmon 3 ounces 447 IU
Tuna 3 ounces 154 IU
Egg Yolks 1 large egg 41 IU
Fortified Milk 1 cup 115-130 IU
Fortified Yogurt 6 ounces 80-100 IU

If it’s difficult to get enough Vitamin D through dietary sources alone, your doctor may recommend taking a Vitamin D supplement. It’s important to talk to your healthcare provider before starting any new supplements.

Whole Grains

Whole grains are a great addition to any diet, especially for those managing rheumatoid arthritis. The fiber in whole grains helps reduce inflammation and improve heart health, which is especially important for those with RA.

Some excellent whole grain options include brown rice, quinoa, and whole wheat bread. These grains are high in nutrients, such as magnesium and selenium, which can help promote overall health.

Incorporating whole grains into your daily meals is easy. Try swapping out white rice for brown rice or using whole wheat pasta instead of regular pasta. Snack on whole grain crackers or add quinoa to your salad for added texture and nutrition.

Spice Things Up

If you’re looking to add some flavor to your RA-friendly diet, spices can be a great addition. Not only do they add taste to your meals, but they also have anti-inflammatory properties that can help manage RA symptoms.

Ginger: This spicy root can help reduce inflammation and pain in the joints. Add it to stir-fries, smoothies, or tea for a comforting and anti-inflammatory boost.

Turmeric: This golden spice contains curcumin, which has been found to have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Add it to soups, stews, and curries for a delicious and healthy flavor boost.

rheumatoid arthritis best food

Cinnamon: Not only is cinnamon sweet and fragrant, but it also has anti-inflammatory properties that can help manage RA symptoms. Sprinkle it on oatmeal, yogurt, or use it in baking for a tasty and healthy addition to your meals.

Get creative with your spices and experiment with different combinations to find what works best for you. And remember, adding spices is an easy and affordable way to improve your RA-friendly diet.

Avoid Processed Foods

When it comes to managing rheumatoid arthritis symptoms through diet, it’s important to steer clear of processed foods as much as possible. Not only are these foods typically high in unhealthy fats, sugars, and sodium, but they can also trigger inflammation and exacerbate RA symptoms.

Instead, opt for natural, whole food options. Fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains are all great choices for a healthy, balanced diet that can help manage RA symptoms.

Hydrate with Water

Staying hydrated is essential for managing rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. Drinking enough water can help reduce inflammation and improve joint health. It’s recommended to aim for at least eight glasses of water per day, more if you live in a hot climate or exercise regularly.

While other beverages like tea, coffee, or soda may seem like a good thirst-quencher, they can actually dehydrate the body. Excess caffeine or sugar intake can also increase inflammation and worsen RA symptoms. Aim to consume water throughout the day and keep a water bottle handy to remind yourself to drink regularly.

Exercise and RA Diet

Exercise plays a critical role in managing RA symptoms alongside healthy eating habits. It not only improves joint flexibility and mobility but also helps maintain a healthy weight.

While high-impact exercises like running or team sports may be too strenuous on joints with RA, low-impact activities like walking, swimming, or yoga are great options. Before starting any exercise plan, however, it’s best to consult with your doctor or physical therapist to ensure the activities are safe and appropriate for you.

Similarly, when it comes to diet, it’s essential to maintain a healthy balance of whole, natural foods. Incorporating foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and Vitamin D can help manage inflammation, pain, and joint damage caused by RA.

As you incorporate exercise into your routine, make sure to do the same with your diet. Try to avoid processed foods, sugary drinks, and caffeine-heavy beverages, opting instead for whole, natural options.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Diet: FAQs

Living with rheumatoid arthritis can be challenging, and managing your diet can be especially difficult. Here are some frequently asked questions about rheumatoid arthritis and diet:

Can certain foods trigger rheumatoid arthritis flare-ups?

While there is no specific diet that has been proven to cure rheumatoid arthritis, certain foods can trigger flare-ups and worsen symptoms. Some common triggers include processed foods, sugary drinks, and foods high in saturated and trans fats. Consider keeping a food diary to track what foods may be triggering your symptoms.

rheumatoid arthritis best food

Are there specific foods that can help manage rheumatoid arthritis symptoms?

While there is no magic food to cure rheumatoid arthritis, incorporating certain foods into your diet has been shown to help manage symptoms. Foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids, such as fatty fish, flaxseed, and chia seeds, can reduce inflammation and joint pain. Antioxidant-rich foods like berries, tomatoes, and leafy greens can also help reduce inflammation and slow down joint damage.

Should I avoid gluten if I have rheumatoid arthritis?

There is no evidence to suggest that people with rheumatoid arthritis should avoid gluten unless they have a gluten intolerance or celiac disease. In fact, some studies have shown that a gluten-free diet may actually increase inflammation in people with rheumatoid arthritis who do not have celiac disease.

Should I take supplements to help manage rheumatoid arthritis symptoms?

It’s important to talk to your healthcare provider before taking any supplements, as some may interact with medication or have negative side effects. That being said, some supplements like Vitamin D, turmeric, and ginger have been shown to help manage rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.

Can a specific diet, such as Paleo or Mediterranean, help manage rheumatoid arthritis symptoms?

There is no one-size-fits-all diet for rheumatoid arthritis, but some people have found relief by following specific diets like the Paleo or Mediterranean diet. These diets prioritize whole foods and limit processed foods and refined sugars, which can worsen inflammation. However, it’s important to remember that everyone’s body is different, and what works for one person may not work for another.

What if I have food allergies or intolerances?

If you have food allergies or intolerances, it’s important to avoid those foods, even if they are considered “healthy” for managing rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. Talk to a registered dietitian to help you find alternative foods that are safe for you to eat.

Can exercise help manage rheumatoid arthritis symptoms along with a healthy diet?

Yes! Exercise can help improve joint flexibility and mobility, and strengthen muscles, which can help manage rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. Activities like walking, swimming, and yoga are low-impact options that can be beneficial for people with rheumatoid arthritis. Just make sure to talk to your healthcare provider before starting a new exercise routine.

Remember, managing rheumatoid arthritis symptoms is all about finding what works best for you. A healthy and balanced diet, along with exercise and medication as prescribed by your healthcare provider, can help manage symptoms and improve quality of life.

Jillian Hunt is a strong and inspiring individual who has been living with arthritis for over a decade. Despite the challenges she faces, she’s determined to find ways to manage her condition and improve her quality of life. She’s also an advocate for others who face similar challenges, sharing her insights on various forums.

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Arthritis Treatment Lab is a blog dedicated to providing information and resources on various treatment options for arthritis. From traditional approaches such as medication and physical therapy, to alternative therapies like acupuncture and herbal remedies, we strive to educate and empower individuals who are living with this condition. Our articles cover the latest research findings, practical tips for managing symptoms, and personal stories from people who have successfully overcome arthritis. Whether you are newly diagnosed or a long-time sufferer, Arthritis Treatment Lab is here to support you on your journey towards better health.