An RA healthy diet is basically a well-balanced diet that is low in saturated fats, high in Omega-3 fats, and full of brightly colored fruits and vegetables. Bright colors are like signs to show us where the powerful combinations of antioxidants are. RA’ers also need plenty of cell-building protein, iron, calcium, and other minerals. While no food can cure Rheumatoid Arthritis, diet can play a big part in living as healthy as possible with RA. There are obviously many personal conditions which lead to various restrictions and these lists are only general suggestions.
Lists of RA-healthy foods / ingredients
Omega-3 fatty acids
- Salmon, sardines, tuna, mackerel, trout, herring
- Olive oil, flaxseed oil, cod liver oil
- Ground flaxseed
- Walnuts, pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts, almonds
High vitamin C
- Strawberries, citrus, acerola cherry, guava, currents
- Tang, orange juice, grapefruit juice
- Sweet red or green peppers, green chilies, hot peppers
- Dried chives, parsley, thyme, coriander, cilantro
- Horseradish, lemon peel, sundried tomatoes
High vitamin E
- Snickers Marathon protein bar
- Almonds, sunflower seeds, peanuts, and hazelnuts
- Wheat germ, cereals
- V-8 Splash
- Canned clams
- Coriander, cilantro, paprika, cayenne
- Watercress, spinach, greens
High vitamin D
- Many types of fish, fish oil, mollusk, caviar
- Dry milk, evaporated milk, butter, cream, Swiss cheese, ice cream
- Silk soymilks, egg, Ensure drinks
- Most breakfast cereals
- Hard salami, bologna, sausage
- Dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, and collards
- Grape leaves, tofu, seaweed, tahini (sesame paste), sardines
- Savory, basil, dill, sage, marjoram, thyme, oregano, mint, parsley, rosemary, tarragon, cinnamon, curry, black pepper, cardamom
- Sesame seeds , fennel seed, poppy seed, celery seed, coriander seed, caraway seed
- Parmesan cheese, dry milk, many cheeses
- Breakfast cereals, cornmeal
- Thyme, parsley, marjoram, mint, thyme , oregano, basil, turmeric, anise , curry powder, rosemary , paprika, chili powder, cinnamon
- Cashews, cocoa powder, sesame seeds, cumin seed, flaxseed
- Raisin bran, wheat germ, bran, breakfast cereals & bars, instant tea powder, saltines, molasses cookies
- Sardines, anchovies, shellfish, scallops, dried walrus, chitin, and whale
- Variety meats, liverwurst, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, black beans
- Greens, lentils, sundried tomato, watermelon, potatoes, dried apricots
- Bananas, kiwis, sundried tomatoes, apricots, tomato paste, currants, raisins
- Kidney beans, pink beans, black beans, pinto beans, lima beans, lentils
- Instant coffee, instant tea, cocoa powder, soy flour, dry milk, malted milk
- Parsley, chervil, coriander, basil, turmeric, paprika, saffron
- Salami, salmon
- potato chips, baking chocolate , pudding mix, pistachio nuts, molasses
Miscellaneous foods generally alleged to be anti-inflammatory, with high anti-oxidants or phyto-nutrients
- Blueberries, pomegranate, dark-colored grapes, watermelon, red apples
- V-8 vegetable juice
- Pumpkin, sweet potatoes, artichokes
- Cinnamon, cloves, turmeric, ginger, garlic
- Green tea
Pro-biotic (healthy bacteria for digestion)**
- Yogurt, buttermilk, bleu cheese, sour cream
- Sauerkraut, kimchi, miso
- Sourdough breads, brewer’s yeast
**Pro-biotic foods are supposed to help with several things including absorption of nutrients. They might be used in moderation for those with autoimmune diseases because it is believed that they boost immune function. Still a controversy whether that is a good thing.
Healthy eating strategies
- One sip at a time: Buy strong juices such as blueberry, pomegranate, acai which can be very tart alone, and add a little of them all day to drinks such as tea, or fresh lemonade, or sparkling water.
- Master recipe strategy: Find an easy recipe that you like and switch out different healthy ingredients each time to keep it from getting boring.
- Insert healthy ingredient here. Examples: Make a tuna recipe prepared with salmon; substitute flaxseed meal for breadcrumbs; add nuts or spices from the lists to baked items;
- Check the lists: Print 2 lists of healthy ingredients you want to add to your diet. Put one on the fridge to remind you to add them to your dishes. Put the second one in your wallet, so you can remind yourself to put those items in your shopping cart or order them at a restaurant!
- Keep the favorites fresh: Try to add new ingredients from “healthy” lists to your favorite recipes.
- Plan for the worst: Plan healthy fallback meals for when you are not able to cook.
- Ask the doctors: Have your primary doctor look over your lab results periodically giving you suggestions of supplements or foods to add to improve any deficiencies you have.
- Check out the ideas folks are leaving on the blog here.