Hi all.

I am a newbie to all this too. So glad to hear there's somewhere like this to chat to people with the same symptoms. As recently feeling really low and tearful. I was diagnosed last October with RA. I took methotrexate for a while but came out with bad side effects. I was then prescribed sulfasalazine but that left me with a dead leg. So finally got put on leflunomide. Been on this for about 2 months and still everything feels the same. Numb legs and a bakers cyst on my leg so can't bend either. So hence not bending properly hurts my back. I am looking for any herbal type therapies or even through diet to help. I heard red meat should be given up. Do any of you know if this is true? Are there any other ways of helping???diet wise. Thanks. I look forward to hearing any ideas soon. Xx

18 Replies

  • This article from Arthritis Research UK is a very balanced view on diet.


  • Hi Treza42, I too was diagnosed in October 2014 and have been seeing a nutritional therapist. I am a vegetarian and on a gluten free, refined sugar free with no processed foods either diet. Only thing to watch out for on this diet is to make sure you are getting sufficient B12 from sources other than meat. I have sero positive RA and am currently on HCQ only. I was due to start on MTX at the end of March but didn't as my vitamin B12 levels were low so was waiting for other test results. Saw my rheumy on Monday and he advised me there was no need to start in the MTX and just to stick with HCQ. Make sure you also get enough calcium too largely from dairy products. I also eat lots of nuts and seeds. This seems to be working for me but please do check with the professionals as each person is different. Hope this helps. Take care x

  • Thanks so much. It's nice to know there's others out there the same your support on here is amazing. Thanks. Xx

  • Hello welcome to the site. I am so sorry to hear you are having a tough time at the moment and hope you start to improve soon. I was very interested in your post as i have been looking at my diet. I googled this and lots of sites came up with the main advice to eat more fish like salmon, brown rice, olive oil, different fruits, veg and nuts etc. I have cut down on meats for now and replaced with more fish. You have to be careful not to overcook the salmon though so i bake it with skin removed in tin foil with some ginger, mango and some finely chopped leaks and a dash of olive oil a strange combo but i like sweet and sour! I have this with brown rice Uncle Bens which I love. I am also eating a handful of nuts, seeds a day. In the med they have far less ra than here so i am looking at their diet in particular. I have also started to bake my own bread. If you knew me you would say REALLY ! I dont use a machine as it is quite staight forward. It is a great exercise for sore fingers and wrists if you can do it!!! Again I add seeds and olive oil to this. Anyway here endeth the cookery lesson for today sorry if i got carried away let me know if you find anything tasty. It always seems to help to focus on something productive. Xx I am also sure more people will comment on the meds and problems you are having with more experiece than me. As far as been tearful and feeling low we all have these moments, please reach out when you need too. Hugs from me x

  • Same as Lainee i eat a lot of salmon I follow the alkaline diet very strictly and have had no symptoms (apart from a flare after drinking too much prosecco at a 40th) so no dairy no wheat (bread baking sounds great) and lots and lots of fruit and veggies. Lost 9lb and my skin feels great plus I have loads more energy. Really important you get all your supplements too. Good luck diet definitely helps but you need to be quite strict.

  • Thanks very much. I love the cookery lesson. I also love salmon. Thanks for the reply. And also thanks for the support. If I find out anything else I will let u know. Thanks again. Xx

  • I've upped my vegetable intake considerably and try to eat as wide a range of foods as possible. I definitely feel better for it.

    I think it is really important to optimise our overall health but diet alone isn't going to control the disease. The DMARDs didn't get my PsA under control, though Mtx did help a lot. I didn't even notice Sulfasalazine - no side effects but no improvement either - and Leflunomide was the one drug I've taken that made me feel a bit grotty and that too didn't touch the disease.

    NICE demands that we trundle through at least 2 DMARDs before, possibly, becoming eligible for biologics. Is that something that has been discussed? Humira + exercise + vegetables galore work for me!

  • Hi Treza, have you considered getting tested for food intolerances? There's some research to suggest that leaky gut (caused by food intolerances) can contribute considerably to autoimmune diseases such as RA. My rheumy initially didn't want to hear anything about the dietary approach, so I did the test privately. Turned out I had 11 food intolerances. I've done really well on a gluten-free, dairy-free diet, mostly alkaline as Sandiedc suggests, so no red meat, hardly any sugar and lots of veggies. My nodules are gone, swelling is down, CRP etc. is down too. Cider vinegar can help with stiff joints too. I've found the natural approach at the Margaret Hills Clinic really helpful: All the best to you!

  • This was a very helpful resource as was Honestly Healthy by Natasha Corrett for Alkaline advice .

  • Thanks, I hadn't heard of her before, will definitely try some of her recipes! :-)

  • I'm always wary of the 'leaky gut' theory, the NHS seems to be too

  • Yes, it's still an area of research. Some interesting studies have been published though. Also found this one good: Anyway, it helped me, that's all I can say! :-)

  • Hi,

    I haven't recieved my dx yet but almost had confirmationby GP a couple of weeks ago. Waiting for second app in Sept with Rhuem. But from all my reading I am sure I have some type of inflamatory joint disease.

    I am trying the Patrick Holford anti arthritis diet, in week 3 now phew. It does seem to have some positive effects but I felt awful for the first week. I think it's worth trying. I'm going to stick at it for 3 months to see if it makes a difference as I don't believe it would stop all my symptoms miraculously anyway.

    I also take herbal supplements. I was taking SOlgars AMAZING seven joint support with turmeric. But I've had to change as I started getting heartburn from the black pepper which is one of the things I've had to cut out since starting this diet so...

    Turmeric especially in it's root form (you can buy like ginger) and ginger can be very helpful for pain relief. Patricks book goes into all the physical responses our body has to the herbs and to it's self and how pain works. It is a very good book.

    Hope that helps you find some relief.

    Also yoga. Really helps me.


  • I have been on this prescribed diet as well and feel it works although slowly. I am vegetarian but have cut out bread, pasta, normally wheat heavy products.

    Also no diary but have swapped to soya or oat milk. Lots of green vegetables and soya based items . Also read that beetroot , ginger , kale have antiinflammatory properties.

    Hope this helps

  • I'm vegetarian and always feel dreadful if I try to cut out dairy, I think I actually need milk in my diet! I once went for a Japanese meal and it was the most revolting food I have ever eaten, I had to stop myself throwing up on the way home, I didn't feel better until I had drunk a pint of milk. I think we are all different!

  • Welcome Treza42, I hope you enjoy the site & find it helpful. It's not unusual to feel like you do, it takes some getting used to for many people especially if your Rheumy hasn't prepared you for how you may feel. I was fortunate there, much of my first appointment was talking about the changes I'd be best making & what I should do & shouldn't do too much of. I'm sure it made a bit difference to how I handled the first 6 months of having the disease.

    Having lived in the Med for 11 years since returning to the UK we still have a mainly Mediterranian diet, it's easy, tasty & works for well for both of us as we both have chronic diseases which call for avoiding some foods & increasing some to ensure healthy eating. Fresh ingredients cooked properly (not cooked within an inch of it's life) is really important to retain as many vitamins as possible & I think & the more colourful the better! We still eat red meat as some of the vitamins & healthy fats are necessary for a good balance, we just don't eat it every day.

    Much of it is common sense, pre-prepared foods tend to be higher in salt or sugars, low fat yoghurts have high sugar content generally, it's very difficult to have one thing without it being spoilt by increasing another thing that's not good for us! We've given up & now buy a large carton of low fat plain yogurt & add our own fruit or honey. If you do need to buy the odd packaged meal, let's face it it's not always possible to cook a meal if short on time, just check the traffic light system, easy enough to scan over when looking for something & choose the one with the lowest numbers. You soon get used to checking ingredients & E numbers as well, once you've done it you know what to look out for.

    I'm not one to follow a diet plan.... some of the ones I've looked into are very strict & I don't believe in being so tied into something when what we've been used to works so well, life's too short & some really can be very isolating. I can't imagine eating some of the meals & then watch my h eat something I'd long to have, you must need great willpower & I can be really short on that! Neither do I believe that diet alone will treat my RD, it's not proven so until it is I'll remain on my mix of meds!

    I do take the odd supplement as I'm not overly keen on some things, fish in particular & allergic to red shellfish but have asked my Rheumy/GP if it's ok to do so before I started taking them as some, particularly herbal supplements, can be contraindicated to some of the meds we take.

    I have dairy as I'm borderline for osteoporosis, enough to take bisphosphonate & a calcium/Vit D supplement but as recommended only semi-skimmed milk not full fat & I still eat butter as substituting for low fat spread when trying to reduce my LDL didn't work so gave that up, I just don't slather it on as I would love to do! Cheese (yum) I do need to be careful about as I love it but I don't deny myself, again I just have less. I have cream on the odd pud but again only a desertspoon, well maybe a bit more if I'm honest rather than a good slurp. Any cakes I make I substitute butter for oil, sometimes flour for ground almonds, both make a lovely moist cake, carrot cake is a favourite & rhubarb crumble, reducing the butter to a quarter for the topping, reducing the sugar to half & replacing some of the flour with oats, makes it lovely & crunchy. All treats & usually only at weekends unless we have visitors.

    Gone on a bit & could go on more with ideas but there are loads of different things you could try without having to be overly focussed on what you should & shouldn't eat once you find out what's best to avoid & what can help you. ;)

  • I have been following the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) of the Paleo Diet (see,, I have not been following it perfectly, but I feel much better (at least gut-wise) while following this elimination diet. I have given up gluten, dairy and nightshades (tomatoes, eggplant/aubergines, peppers/capsicums, white potatoes) & definitely feel worse if I eat any of those items. (I seem to get away with white potatoes alright). Definitely cut out sugar. I eat red meat but try to balance it with fish/seafood. I eat pork/poultry about 2x/week (following the "Perfect Health Diet." See

    I am still taking MTX and Humira but haven't taken any NSAIDs since November 2, 2014. I get occasional morning stiffness in the bottoms of my feet (usually lasting no more than 2-5 minutes), and I have (sometimes bothersome) nodules on the finger pads of about 4 fingers, but those are currently my only RA symptoms.

    I think you need to figure out what works for you & what makes sense to you. I did a lot of research to get me to where I am today. I haven't cut out red meat, but I try to get grass-fed or organic and I make sure to get in organ meats and bone broth to boost my nutritional intake. Best of luck to you!

  • Just to conclude that I have been following the Alkaline diet since Feb solidly - I stopped my medication in March and saw my Rheumy recently. All my blood results ie Esr etc have for now returned to normal and I have no symptoms of RA at all. I've lost a stone (was 10st 4 when I started) and I'm back running 5km. I obviously don't know what's round the corner but it's completely transformed my life. Fingers crossed it continues....

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