? CONNECTION BETWEEN DIET AND RA?: Confession time in... - NRAS


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Confession time in the name of research. My RA is usually under control with Humira. I keep to a sensible diet and

stay just inside BMI. Yesterday I lost control, had choc. biscuits++, a brandy, half an Easter egg(grandchilds), and crisps. Today I can't move, every joint is screaming, I am typing with one finger. Yes, dear reader, I know the solution

is not to binge, but does anyone else notice a strong connection between diet and RA?

13 Replies

I have noticed that spicy food makes me more sore! Which is a shame cause I can cook up a great curry xx

No idea whether there is a connection but do know that we all fall off the wagon from time to time. ...well at least I do.

Jeanabelle60 in reply to mary53

we all do......could a bit of guilt be making you feel worse? i know it does with me.....hope things improve for you soon. X


Does sugar increase inflammation? I think so. But the mind's a powerful thing & I reckon sometimes I feel worse after falling off the wagon purely because eating all too sensibly & healthy living in general are the one thing I can do to help myself (apart from taking the tablets). I expect to feel worse .... then I do .....

For me it's fatty food, especially dairy so overdoing butter cheese and fatty meats and I sure feel it the next day.

I suspect it is more likely to have been the alcohol which caused the flair up. I love my red wine but only allow myself half a glass every now and then. However, I think I have then had more uncomfortable joints for a day after. I don't know about foods which trigger a flare. There seems to be no real research in an area which I think is very important.

Yes!! I definitely agree that there is a connection between diet and RA. So much of our immune system is in our gut and if autoimmune means our immune system is out of whack, wouldn't that make sense? I'm currently reading The Paleo Approach by Sarah Ballantyne (see her blog at thepaleomom.com) which very clearly draws the line between diet and autoimmune. It would appear that pretty much all people with autoimmune have what is call Leaky Gut, and gluten sensitivity. From her book, blog, and other sites/sources, I'm noticing that people with autoimmune should avoid grains, legumes, and refined sugars and high omega 6 oils (ie canola oil, vegetable oil, sunflower oil). It would also appear that nuts, seeds, dairy and nightshades are common culprits. Nightshades are potatoes (excl sweet potatoes and yams), tomatoes, capsicums (incl cayenne, paprika, chili powder and curry powders), and aubergines. If you want to see a really clear connection between diet and RA, try the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol (AIP). It's not easy, but the best way to figure out the culprits. I'm on it right now, and seeing some clear improvement. I ate a crumb of my son's almond cookie and felt horrible, so I must have a reaction to almonds - all of the other ingredients had been successfully reintroduced. Someone with RA who has had tremendous success with the AIP, and who has loads of AIP-friendly recipes on her site, is phoenixhelix.com. Best of luck. It's a lot of trial and error, but completely worth it if we can reduce our meds and enjoy our lives. Also, eat fat!! Healthy saturated fat from good sources -grass-fed ruminants (cow, sheep, goat), avocados, coconut oil, etc. Cheers!

My rheumatologist told me that carbohydrates feed inflammation and that I should limit them in my diet. When I do just that, sticking with meat and vegetables and little else, I have much less pain. Like you, when I have a bit of a binge and eat pasta, a lot of bread, or sweets, I seem to experience a flare.

Yes, definitely. I have been on a "diet" for 3 years now. I eat lots of veg & fruit, mainly vegan with no dairy and meat but the some fish. I also avoid wheat, sugar, alcolhol, tea and coffe and did for a long time not eat any nightshade veg. I have recently started eating potatoes again but I avoid tomatoes. You have to experiment with it yourself. I am on a very low dose of Methotraxate and Hydroxychloroquine and am offically in remission. I am unsure if the medication has any effects on my symptoms my diet however has big time. Good luck with it!

Thanks Karen77 for your tips! I will check out those websites and blogs. Stay healthy.


Hi Ladydeerthorpe

I'm so sorry to hear about your bad flare up. For some people with RA, what they eat or drink might not make any difference to their condition, but for some it does and for those people, which foods effect them might vary from person to person.

You could try keeping a food diary for a while, where you monitor what you eat each day and how your symptoms are and see if any particular foods seem to make your symptoms worse. It could be that having these foods in moderation makes no difference, but that having them all at once was too much, so hopefully it won't be a case of having to stop them completely. Equally, it could of course be coincidence.

The main advice on diet is simply to have a healthy, balanced diet, but nobody's perfect and very few people keep to that every day!

Kind regards


(NRAS helpline)

I wonder why you felt the need to binge? Do you comfort eat? Could the flare be the result of what made you want to binge, rather than the binge itself?

I only ask because I binge when I'm stressed and I know that there is a connection between stress and flares.

Hi, I'm wondering why you fell off the wagon. The reason I ask is that I usually nose dive into the trough when I'm either feeling poorly with cold etc or need a bit of comfort eating. For me, both those situations are likely to bring on worsening symptoms whether I pig out or not. Just a thought but if it is as a result of you needing to comfort eat I might just have given you a get out of jail free card :)

Many Thanks for all the support and interesting info, It's given me lots to think about! Thank you everyone.

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