Anti-Inflammatory Foods for Rheumatoid Arthritis and Other Autoimmune Diseases

Inflammatory disease is a general term that applies to autoimmune diseases and chronic inflammation disorders in which a person’s immune system attacks the body’s own tissues. 

One of the biggest tools we have to calm inflammation and improve symptoms in those with autoimmune disease is diet. Studies suggest that certain foods increase inflammation and others decrease it.

An anti-inflammatory diet plan may help to lower inflammatory markers in individuals with autoimmune-type inflammation diseases.

There are some inconsistencies with studies and there is still much to learn. It is best to consult with a registered dietitian to develop an appropriate meal plan.

There are over 80 autoimmune diseases including:

  • Addison disease
  • Autoimmune vasculitis
  • Celiac disease - sprue (gluten-sensitive enteropathy)
  • Dermatomyositis
  • Graves’ disease
  • Hashimoto thyroiditis
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Pernicious anemia
  • Psoriasis/psoriatic arthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Sjögren’s syndrome
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Type 1 diabetes

The following foods may reduce inflammation:

  • Whole plant foods: Unprocessed, as close to their natural form as possible. These are your absolute best bet.
  • Antioxidant foods: Berries, green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, cruciferous vegetables (kale, cabbage, etc.), beans, tomatoes, and beets.
  • Avocados
  • Coffee
  • Dark chocolate with at least 70% or higher cocoa solids
  • Fruits
  • Fruits such as blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries
  • Herbs and spices such as turmeric, cumin and garlic
  • High-fiber whole grains
  • Leafy greens
  • Legumes
  • Monounsaturated fats (avocados, olive oil, nuts, nut butters, seeds)
  • Nuts and seeds (if not allergic)
  • Olive oil
  • Omega-3 fats (walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, soybeans and seafoods including salmon, herring, sardines, mackerel)
  • Tea
  • Vegetables
  • Vitamin D

The Mediterranean diet and DASH diet are popular dietary plans that already promote eating many anti-inflammatory foods.

Here are some examples of inflammatory foods to limit:

  • Alcohol
  • Alcohol
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Caffeine
  • Food additives
  • Food dyes
  • Fried foods
  • Omega 6 fatty acids
  • Processed foods and meat
  • Processed high-fat meats like bacon, sausage, hot dogs
  • Refined carbohydrate foods like white bread, pasta, rice
  • Saturated fats like full-fat dairy from cream and butter, partially hydrogenated oils, fatty cuts of meat and poultry
  • Sugar
  • Sweetened beverages like soda, juice drinks, iced tea
  • Trans-fats


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Categories:   Food  Health Conditions 

Tags:   #mealplanning

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