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Eat Better With RA, Feel Better With RA?

RA Health Leader Franki recently shared her exploration into alternatives to medication, including changing her diet and lifestyle (Article: )

I am curious about your experience. Have you noticed a difference in how you feel after changing your diet? What diets have you tried?

*Note - I realize this topic is sensitive for many. I am not looking for anyone to advocate for any specific diet. Just curious about people's individual experiences.

  1. I try to eat Whole Foods . No added sugars . Try not to eat processed foods. More protein and fiber .
    I used to feel dairy was something to avoid but I honestly don’t see a difference when I eliminate it .
    Sugar I think is really important to try and limit . Ideally I’d like to ELIMINATE!!

    1. especially since i have T1 Diabetes, I am all in with you on the lowest crab possible.

  2. I was diagnosed with RA in 2016. I started modifying my diet in 2017, starting with gluten free, because I already knew my IBS had issues with wheat. I progressed to more and more whole foods, eliminating processed foods. I started cooking all my own food. A year ago I found a functional medicine Dr who ran a food sensitivity test that identified the main ones. I went on the total elimination diet for 30 days and then started adding things back. My first addition was cottage cheese (which I love!). My reaction was so bad (within a couple of hours, ALL my joints started aching!), I was afraid to try anything else for a while. I have since tried other dairy things and have found that I still react mildly to most. I love cheese, so I was very disappointed! Sugar was the other one that shows up as increased pain. I try to limit as much as possible. I still stick mostly to the anti-inflammatory diet, just to keep things under control. Best move I ever made! Diet DOES make a difference!

    1. Hi . Elimination diets can take a lot of determination and patience, but it sounds like it was worth it. I hope dietary changes continue to help. Thanks for chiming in. Best wishes. - Lori (Team Member)

  3. Never found a consistent relationship between my RA flares and what I eat.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing! I am similar. I went through a period where my medications were not working well so we tried elimination diets, just to see what would happen. Except for one major trigger (potatoes), diet hasn't had a large bearing on my RA symptoms.

      All the best, Monica (team member)

  4. No to foods exacerbating RA flares. I have had RA for over 25 years and though plenty of individuals have offered their "diet du jour", I have never seen any relationship to the food I eat. I try to avoid sugar, eat fewer carbs and more protein because I am type II diabetic- but really, if I could lose 20 lbs I would probably feel better- but as you all know exercise is tough when you hurt. I also have pretty active Irritable Bowel that alternates between both types D and C and haven't found any food groups to be likely irritants other than fatty foods, which I avoid.

    I have noticed over the years that I have pretty widespread dysfunction: smooth muscle and autonomic nervous system dysfunction- swallowing difficulty, spastic esophagus, delayed gastric emptying, IBS, Irritable bladder, along with migraines, and ADHD (recently diagnosed). It makes me wonder if these are at all related to the autoimmune disorders like RA and Raynaud's which I also have.

    1. Hi . I noticed that you mentioned IBS. Research has found that those with RA are more likely to have IBS. We have a sister-site for IBS at That said, irritable bowel diseases (IBD) are considered inflammatory autoimmune conditions and, as such, are even more likely to be comorbid with RA. We also have a sister-site for IBD at Of course, only a doctor can do the proper diagnostics to see if you are dealing with IBD. Hope this information is helpful. Best, Richard ( Team)

    2. This is the first time, in almost twenty years, that I have been able to identify a specific food. I understand- you react entirely inconsistently with anything discernible. I was diagnosed w RA in 2005/6. In the last three or so, that diagnosis shifted to Psoriatic Arthritis. Most of the treatments seem to be the same…but I do wonder, did I always have PsA or did RA evolve?
      I think my biggest frustration has always been the crazy variability - no pain, severe pain in ankles, then wrists, upper back, then chest…people don’t read it well…walking w a cane..then no cane and wearing wrist wraps. 😂

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