Rheumatoid ArthritisRA and Diet

Let's Talk About Rheumatoid Arthritis and Diet

There's no easy food fix for RA (wouldn't that be nice?), but there are ways you can eat to lessen the impact of your symptoms. Here's how to fuel yourself right to stay one step ahead of this disease.

    Our Pro PanelRA and Diet

    We went to some of the nation's top RA experts to bring you the most scientific and up-to-date information possible.

    Nilanjana Bose, M.D.

    Nilanjana Bose, M.D.Rheumatologist

    Rheumatology Center of Houston
    Houston, TX
    Sara Tedeschi, M.D., MPH

    Sara Tedeschi, M.D., MPHAssistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School

    Brigham and Women's Hospital
    Joshua Baker, M.D.

    Joshua Baker, M.D.Rheumatologist and Assistant Professor of Medicine

    Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and the Veteran’s Administration Medical Center
    Anti-inflammatory foods for RA include fatty fish, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and olive oil
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    Frequently Asked QuestionsRA Diet

    Are nightshade vegetables bad for RA?

    You might have heard that so-called nightshade vegetables (bell peppers, tomatoes, and eggplants, among others) promote inflammation and aggravate arthritis. Not true. In fact, tomatoes are a common ingredient in the Mediterranean diet, which may have positive effects on RA. If you’re worried about nightshades, don’t eat them. Otherwise, enjoy!

    Should an RA diet eliminate all sweets?

    Most doctors agree that sweets in moderation are fine. The CDC recommends limiting your intake of added sugars to less than 10% of your total daily calories. That’s 200 calories, or about 50 grams, of sugar if you eat 2,000 calories a day.

    Can I treat my RA with diet?

    Healthy eating can help you feel better and may improve the efficacy of your meds. But medication is still needed to keep the disease under control.

    Can I drink alcohol while on methotrexate?

    You may not have to totally give it up, but limiting your intake is advised. Liver toxicity is a concern with methotrexate and drinking alcohol can increase that risk. Talk with your doctor about whether or not it’s OK to drink.

    Jerilyn Covert

    Jerilyn Covert

    Jerilyn Covert is a writer, editor, and copy editor with 15 years of publishing experience.