Sunday, July 20, 2008 yoli, Community Member, asks

Q: are there any foods that can cause ra to flare up?

i was told that i should stay away from potatoes cause it makes ra flare that true and if so what other foods should i avoid?

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Answers (6)
Lene Andersen, Health Guide
7/24/08 11:20am

My first comment is to Otis - don't be afraid of eating. Eating certain foods may make your symptoms a bit worse, but they are not going to cause at massive flare that leaves you on able to use your body at all.


There are many stories about foods that are bad for RA and many of them are contradictory. Some people swear by a vegetarian diet, others by avoiding red meat and I'm sure there's at least 739 other diets out there for RA. I'm pretty sure there is no miracle diet, but my shiatsu therapist, who also had a background in Chinese medicine, once told me to avoid tomatoes, potatoes and fried foods because they increased "damp heat" in the body. Damp heat is the term used in Chinese medicine in connection to arthritis and it's one of the best descriptions I've ever heard. In my experience, she was right. If I ate fried foods for more than a couple of days in a row, my symptoms would increase, but subsided a bit if I stopped eating that kind of food.


If you suspect that certain foods make your symptoms worse, consider keeping a food diary for a few weeks where you list the various foods you eat each day and how you feel, as well. This may help you discover a pattern.


honda_mom2006, Community Member
7/23/08 1:36pm

In my experience I have noticed that sugar makes my pain worse, and cause inflamation. When I asked my rheum about this she said no, it isn't that, but believe me that proof is in the pain! So maybe just watch how you feel for a day after sugar consumption? Could just be me,who knows! Good luck!Smile

Cheryl Stewart, Community Member
10/18/11 3:42pm

I agree.  Sugar and meat, and inactivity are culprits for me.  I have started eating primarily vegetarian and raw foods as well as concentrating on taking probiotic supplements, and I find that I cut down on my meds considerably and during the week  I am mostly medicine free.  So everybody is different, and doctors don't understand it or believe in it, so they don't usually promote these methods to other patients.

scratchpad, Community Member
7/24/08 7:29am

I was always told to avoid citrus fruits, tomatoes and rhubarb, these are main ones but everyone is different. I am able to eat oranges and rhubarb with no trouble.

otis, Community Member
7/24/08 9:28am

reading scratchpad's response, I have read the opposite to citrus foods, especially that oranges are beneficial in treating RA sx.    The more I read, the more contradictory information I get.    I am pretty close to the starvation point, which I realize is not good, but also afraid to put anything in my mouth for fear of exacerbating the disease !!!!

Tara, Community Member
7/24/08 11:40am

Yes, I find that potatoes don't agree with me.  Also I am mostly on a dairy free diet.  You can take lactase enzyme to offset this.


I would suggest that you have tests done to see what foods you are sensitive to.


I did this in England at a large chain of vitamin products stores.


Good luck Jean

ONP, Community Member
2/10/10 12:24am

I cannot say about potatoes or fried foods as some have said as I don't eat them very often.  I can tell you I recently made the connection between eating oranges and my RA flares.  I was eating a couple of oranges a day for a while and my RA which is worse in my feet became almost unbearable. I couldn't sleep or get comfortable at all.  I stopped eating oranges and within a couple of days there was a huge difference.  This has happened on two different occassions. I will not be eating oranges very often anymore.



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By yoli, Community Member— Last Modified: 05/21/14, First Published: 07/20/08