Can Certain Foods Help Relieve the Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Diet plays a huge role in your health. But if you’re already suffering from a chronic, lifelong condition like rheumatoid arthritis, can your diet really make a difference.

If you’re living with rheumatoid arthritis, the foods you eat can actually affect your symptoms. And choosing certain foods can even help to relieve the painful symptoms you live with daily.

While there isn’t a specific diet or way of eating that’s recommended for RA sufferers, there are foods that can offer relief. These foods work to control inflammation in the body, which can reduce pain caused by RA. Incorporate the following foods in your diet, and see how they can positively affect your health.

Cold-Water Fish

Benefits for RA:

  • Rich in inflammation-fighting omega-3 fatty acids
  • Reduces C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin-6, which can cause inflammation
  • Relieves joint tenderness
  • Helps with morning joint stiffness

What to Eat: Any variety of fish that lives in cold water, like salmon, tuna, sardines, anchovies, herring, and mackerel.

Why It Works: Registered dieticians say that omega-3 fatty acids are one of the most promising anti-inflammatory ingredients found in foods. And it’s those fatty acids that can fight your body’s inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis. Eating cold-water fish can alleviate some painful symptoms by reducing inflammation occurring in the joints.

Fruits and Vegetables

Benefits for RA:

  • Filled with antioxidants
  • Boost the immune system
  • Help fight inflammation
  • Contain fiber, which lowers levels of CRP and in turn reduces inflammation

What to Eat: Colorful fruits and vegetables like blueberries, blackberries, spinach, broccoli, and kale. Fruits and vegetables known for high levels of antioxidants are the best choice.

Why It Works: Fruits and vegetables are good for the body regardless of whether or not you’re living with RA, but the antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals they contain can specifically decrease inflammation for rheumatoid arthritis sufferers. Research studies have found that diets high in fruits and vegetables can reduce inflammatory markers in the blood, block inflammation’s causes, and even specifically decrease inflammation caused by arthritis-related conditions.


Benefits for RA:

  • Contain monounsaturated fats, which fight inflammation
  • Some nuts have omega-3 fatty acids, which can specifically target arthritis symptoms
  • Nutrient-dense and filled with beneficial compounds
  • Contain fiber, which lowers levels of CRP and in turn reduces inflammation

What to Eat: Nuts that contain fatty acids, protein, and fiber, like walnuts, pine nuts, pistachios, and almonds. Most varieties of nuts will bring benefits for RA, but walnuts in particular are a great choice.

Why It Works: There’s reason walnuts are the preferred nut of choice for rheumatoid arthritis sufferers. Walnuts are filled with both nutrients and specific compounds that can reduce inflammation caused by joint diseases. Medical studies have found that walnuts reduce inflammation and inflammation markers, and eating walnuts can even reduce pain and your need for arthritis medication.

Olive Oil

Benefits for RA:

  • Anti-inflammatory properties
  • Can use it for cooking, salad dressings, marinades, and more to consume it easily
  • Can decrease the risk of developing RA
  • Contains monounsaturated fat and antioxidants, which can alleviate inflammation
  • Decreases anti-inflammatory markers in the blood

What to Eat: Take olive oil capsules each day, or use olive oil in recipes and while cooking to get a regular “dose.” Add it to salads, while cooking meats and vegetables, or in sauces too.

Why It Works: Olive oil is a popular ingredient that’s well-known to have anti-inflammatory benefits. When consumed regularly, olive oil can slow the progress of arthritis conditions (like rheumatoid arthritis), reduce swelling in the joints, and even slow the destruction of the joints. It can also decrease inflammatory markers, reduce inflammation, and reduce pain with its antioxidants.

Tart Cherry Juice

Benefits for RA:

  • Reduces levels of inflammatory markers in the blood
  • Decreases arthritis symptoms
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Contains antioxidants

What to Eat: Drink tart cherry juice – without any added sugars or sweeteners – as part of your regular diet.

Why It Works: Tart cherry juice is commonly pulled from the prunus cerasus tree, which gives it a potent blend of nutrients that can positively impact the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Without any sweeteners, cherry juice is a healthy option for reducing inflammation, decreasing painful symptoms, and even dropping inflammatory levels according to research.

Take Control of Your Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms with These Foods

While a well-rounded, health-focused diet is important for anyone, taking special care with your diet is especially crucial for those living with RA. The symptoms of RA can be incredibly painful, and small changes within your diet could offer you some relief.

Try incorporating these foods into your diet to see if they can help alleviate your rheumatoid arthritis pain. They might have a positive effect on your symptoms, helping you live life as fully as possible.