Vegetarian Diet Plan For Rheumatoid Arthritis


Vegetarian diet plan for rheumatoid arthritis is an effective and proven way to help manage symptoms of the disease when other medical options do not work well. The focus should first be on eating a healthy, antioxidant-rich diet that is rich in antioxidants as evidenced by various studies which suggest that people who eat more fruits and vegetables live longer and healthier lives. Those same foods can be helpful in managing rheumatoid arthritis while adding exercise and stress management can also help.

The vegetarian diet plan for rheumatoid arthritis is the most effective treatment. It is a close relative of the vegan diet and the vegan diet plan but it has targets on issues concerned with rheumatoid arthritis.

A Vegetarian Diet May Help Ease Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms

A plant-based diet can help reduce inflammation and improve the health of gut bacteria. Getty Images
  • Researchers say there’s more evidence that a plant-based diet can help ease some symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
  • They say vegetarian-like diets can reduce inflammation and improve gut health.
  • Some experts say just adhering to a plant-based diet isn’t enough. A person must still eat healthy.
  • Experts also say plant-based diets may work better for some people with rheumatoid arthritis than others.

Can going vegan or vegetarian — or simply eating more veggies — help people who are living with rheumatoid arthritis (RA)?

The answer, as it turns out, is… possibly.

A study published this month indicates that a plant-based diet may in fact help with the array of symptoms that come along with RA, which can be severe for the 1.5 million people in the United States living with the condition.

Recent research has touted the benefits of seafood for RA, the types of foods that can ease RA symptoms, and the potential dangers of people with RA eating meats cooked at too high a temperature.

Other research has discussed how beef and milk, baking soda, green tea, and turmeric can affect arthritis.

Now, the latest research concludes that a plant-based diet, heavy in vegetables and grains, could possibly be added to the list of potential dietary fixes for RA.

“A plant-based diet comprised of fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes may be tremendously helpful for those with rheumatoid arthritis,” Dr. Hana Kahleova, MD, PhD, the co-author of the study and director of clinical research for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, said in a statement.

“This study offers hope that with a simple menu change, joint pain, swelling, and other painful symptoms may improve or even disappear.”

The theory behind plant-based diets

Why might plant-based diets work?

As the medical review noted, the reason may be because plant-based diets are shown to reduce inflammation, promote healthy gut bacteria, reduce RA pain and swelling, and reduce obesity or high body mass index.

All of these factors make a difference in the management of RA pain and symptoms.

The new study notes that genetic factors account for 50 to 60 percent of RA risk.

However, it says the other risk factors can be modified, managed, or prevented. These risks include tobacco smoking, unhealthy gut bacteria, and poor nutrition.

“Dietary triggers may play an inciting role in the autoimmune process, and a compromised intestinal barrier may allow food components or microorganisms to enter the blood stream, triggering inflammation,” the researchers wrote.

“In addition, excessive body weight may affect pharmacotherapy response and the likelihood of disease remission, as well as the risk of disease mortality. Evidence suggests that changes in diet might play an important role in RA management and remission,” they wrote.

Do Vegan or Vegetarian Diets Help Reduce Arthritis Inflammation?

Science has long touted the inflammation-fighting benefits of a healthy diet: one low in saturated fats and added sugars and high in fruits, veggies, lean protein (such as omega-3-rich wild salmon) and whole grains. Many people also believe that avoiding animal products makes for an even healthier diet.

As a result, people with inflammatory types of arthritis may be tempted to go vegetarian (no meat) or vegan (no animal products at all, including meat, eggs and dairy) in the hope that doing so will help them better manage their disease. Here’s what you should know about the possible benefits and pitfalls of these diets.

What the Science Says
There are various studies on the impact of these diets on inflammation, but results are mixed. In a 2015 study published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 600 participants followed a vegan diet for three weeks which significantly reduced C-reactive protein (CRP), a key marker for acute and chronic inflammation.

Likewise, a 2017 meta analyses of 17 studies published in Public Health Nutrition found that following a vegetarian or vegan diet for two or more years was associated with lower CRP levels. Of the 17 studies evaluated, 12 compared the results of following a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet (one that includes dairy and eggs) versus a diet that includes meat. However, in three of the studies, following a vegetarian diet was also linked to increased levels of another inflammatory biomarker, IL-6. But according to the study’s authors, these findings should be interpreted with caution, and more studies are needed to evaluate the link between vegetarian diets and increased IL-6 levels.     

Other Benefits and Potential Pitfalls
Going meat-free has benefits unrelated to inflammation, too. Vegans and vegetarians are less likely than meat eaters to be overweight or obese, and they tend to have lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, says Duo Li, PhD, professor of nutrition at Zhejiang University in China and author of a small study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry in 2011. 

But there are potential pitfalls, too. Vegetarians, and especially vegans, have low blood levels of vitamin B-12 and D, calcium and essential fatty acids, according to Dr. Duo’s study and another study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2014.  These vitamins and minerals play important roles in bone health, and low levels of fatty acids are associated with a several cardiovascular risk factors. Vegans may also have higher levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that has been linked to heart disease, and lower levels of HDL, the “good” cholesterol, known to protect the heart.  

If you decide to go full or part-time vegetarian or vegan, you may need to take some supplements, says Kim Larson, RDN, CD, CSSD, national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. These include omega-3 fatty acids for your heart and to protect against inflammation, iron to protect against anemia, zinc for the immune system, vitamin D and calcium for strong bones, vitamin B-12 for energy and selenium for a healthy thyroid. 

No matter what diet you choose, it’s important to consult with your doctor first and seek guidance from a registered dietician, especially if you want to add supplements.

A Way of Life 
With these diets, it’s not just about what you’re avoiding (meat, eggs and dairy), but it’s also about what you’re eating. People who switch to either diet should fill up on more fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds and whole grains (i.e., brown rice and barley) instead of empty carbs like white pasta, bread or rice. These healthy alternatives are packed with phytochemicals (plant-based compounds) that include antioxidants, flavonoids and carotenoids, all of which help reduce inflammation and protect the tissues from oxidation, which can damage them.

Any diet, including a vegan or vegetarian one, can reap the anti-inflammatory benefits of adding certain oils, says Larson. Extra virgin olive oil helps reduce inflammation and can have a similar effect of ibuprofen.  However, she advises using it at low temperatures because high heat destroys its beneficial compounds, called polyphenols – so use it in salad dressings or for tossing pasta, not just for frying and baking. 

If you want to try a vegan or vegetarian diet, start with a “meatless Monday”, and gradually build up to more meat-free meals, advises Rene Ficek, RD, lead nutritionist at Seattle Sutton’s Healthy Eating. You can go vegan overnight, she adds, though doing it gradually often makes it easier both mentally and physically since suddenly cutting out meat can lead to crankiness, headaches and digestive changes.

If you still want to eat meat, consider making it a side dish, rather than the focus of your meal.  Try serving it in smaller amounts in a dish that prioritizes vegetables, such as a stir fry or a hearty salad. You can also mix it with a protein-rich soy product such as tofu or tempeh, or with seitan (wheat gluten).

Bottomline: You don’t have to adopt an “all or nothing” attitude to receives the benefits of a mostly plant-based diet “Going vegan or vegetarian doesn’t have to be a full-time commitment; it can be certain days or certain meals,” Ficek says.

Indian Vegetarian Diet Plan For Rheumatoid Arthritis

Doctors call rheumatoid arthritis or RA an autoimmune condition. The condition starts when our immune system (supposed to protect us) goes awry and begins to attack our body’s tissues. Nearly 1% of the Indian population suffers from RA, so much so, that it is considered a natural part of ageing.

But as we read though this blog, you will realise that this is far from the truth. Rheumatoid arthritis can be managed with lifestyle and nutritional changes alone, to an extent that you do not have any symptoms of the same.

What is Rheumatoid arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis leads to inflammation in the lining of our joints (the synovium), and as a result, our joints may get warm, red, swollen, and painful.

It is an autoimmune disease that causes joint pain, inflammation, and damage in your body. The joint damage that RA causes mostly happens on both sides of the body.

So, when a joint is affected in one of your legs or arms or similar joint existing in the other arm or leg will most likely be affected as well. This is the most common way doctors distinguish RA from other forms of arthritis, like osteoarthritis or OA.

It is extremely important to learn the signs and symptoms of RA because treatments work best when diagnosed early.

Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.

RA is a chronic disease with symptoms of inflammation and pain in the joints. These signs and symptoms can increase during periods known as flares or exacerbations. They are also known as periods of remission (when symptoms can disappear completely).

RA symptoms most commonly affect joints in the wrists, hands, and knees. However, it can also affect tissues and organs throughout the body, including the heart, lungs, and eyes.

Following are the most common symptoms of RA:

  • Pains or acute ache in one or more joints
  • Stiffness that occurs in one or more joint
  • Swelling and tenderness in more than one joint
  • Similar symptoms of joints on both sides of the body
  • Deformities and loss of joint function
  • Fatigue
  • Low-grade fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weakness

Causes and Risk Factors of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Numerous lifestyle, nutritional, genetic and environmental factors can increase the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.


As already mentioned, RA is an autoimmune disorder. It results from our body’s immune system attacking healthy body tissues. But, the specific causes or triggers of RA still remain unknown.

If you are diagnosed with RA, your immune system will transport the antibodies towards the joint lining as a part of the disease process. These antibodies will attack the tissues lining your joints, cause the lining cells (synovial cells) to divide and add to inflammation.

During this process, chemicals are released to damage nearby cartilage, bones, tendons, and ligaments. If RA is not treated, the joint will become damaged and lose its shape and alignment. It will eventually become destroyed.

Risk factors

  • Diet: Inflammatory foods such as dairy, meat and oil’s are the main cause of RA. Eating a highly inflammatory diet has been associated with RA and multiple other lifestyle diseases.
  • Age: The onset of RA is most commonly found among adults in their 50s. The risk of RA continues to increase with age for people who are assigned male at birth. RA is however also commonly seen among women in their child- bearing age.
  • Genetics: People born with certain genes known as HLA class II genotypes are more likely to develop RA. The risk of RA is highest when people with these genes are obese or are exposed to environmental factors such as smoking. However, genetics does not determine your health alone. Genetics just load the gun. It is your nutrition and lifestyle that pulls the trigger.
  • Early life exposure: As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children with mothers who smoked doubled the risk of developing RA as adults.
  • Smoking: Studies show that people who smoke stand at highest risk of getting RA.
  • Obesity: Having obesity or being obese can increase the risk of developing RA.

Diet Chart For Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients

About Rheumatoid Arthritis Diet Diet plan for rheumatoid arthritis patients Avoid Foods Items to Prevent Rheumatoid Arthritis What To Eat And Avoid To Manage Rheumatoid Arthritis Eat Healthy Foods to Manage Rheumatoid Arthritis Diet Plan

About Rheumatoid Arthritis

About Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that affects the lining of joints, including hands and feet and swelling that leads to various joint problems. The basic and effective way to avoid this is by following a rheumatoid arthritis diet plan. Rheumatoid arthritis diet chart is prescribed by the doctor or dietitian to provide some relief from the joint pains.

Fish contains oil and omega 3 fatty acids that can help to get relief from pain. Make sure that you include cold- water fishes like salmon, tuna, mackerel in your diet plan. Research also says that fish oil can relieve you from stiffness and tender joint pains.

Another way to reduce inflammation is including high fibrous fruits and vegetables and whole grain in your meal plan for rheumatoid arthritis. This reduces the levels of reactors in blood that cause inflammation. The extra virgin olive oil contains components that can further help you reduce inflammation and relief from rheumatoid arthritis.

People suffering from rheumatoid arthritis can always opt for a Mediterranean diet chart that is rich in seafood, vegetables and nuts which can be the best one to cure or attain relief. Studies have shown persistent improvement and that individual experience a decrease in rheumatoid arthritis pain by fasting followed by a vegan diet plan for rheumatoid arthritis.

You can always include raw or moderately cooked vegetables, seasonal fruits, spices like ginger and turmeric, yoghurt to get faster relief from rheumatoid arthritis. Make sure you avoid consumption of processed food, oil, butter, high salt, sugar etc.

Make sure to confirm with your rheumatologist that any dietary change is alright for you. On the off chance that you have any dietary inquiries or concerns, consider counselling a dietician.

Diet chart for rheumatoid arthritis patient

Breakfast (8:00-8:30AM)4 rice Idly+ 1/2 cup sambhar(less dal)+1 tsp coconut chutney+1 glass milk(toned)/ 1 cup tea
Mid-Meal (11:00-11:30AM)1 medium size pear
Lunch (2:00-2:30PM)1 cup brown rice+2 jowar roti+1/2 cup rasam+1/2 cup cabbage sabji+1 glass buttermilk
Evening (4:00-4:30PM)1 cup green tea+2-3 biscuits
Dinner (8:00-8:30PM)3 bajra roti+1/2 cup bhindi curry+1/2 cup cucumber salad
Breakfast (8:00-8:30AM)1/2 cup cornflakes in 1 glass milk(toned)
Mid-Meal (11:00-11:30AM)1 medium size guava
Lunch (2:00-2:30PM)1 cup brown rice+2 bajra roti+1/2 cup fenugreek buttermilk +1/2 cup mooli sabji
Evening (4:00-4:30PM)1 cup green tea+2-3 biscuits
Dinner (8:00-8:30PM)3 jowar roti+1/2 cup cauliflower curry + 1 cup cucumber salad
Breakfast (8:00-8:30AM)3 rice dosa+1/2 cup sambhar(less dal)+2 tsp curry leaves powder+1 glass milk(toned)/ 1 cup tea
Mid-Meal (11:00-11:30AM)1 medium size orange
Lunch (2:00-2:30PM)1 cup brown rice+2 jowar roti+aloo brinjal sabji+1/2 cup rasam+1 glass buttermilk
Evening (4:00-4:30PM)1 cup green tea+2-3 biscuits
Dinner (8:00-8:30PM)3 bajra roti+lauki methi curry+1/2 cup cucumber salad
Breakfast (8:00-8:30AM)3 uthappam+2tsp methi chutney+1 glass milk/1 cup tea(toned)
Mid-Meal (11:00-11:30AM)1 banana
Lunch (2:00-2:30PM)1 cup brown rice+2 bajra roti+ 1/2 cup fenugreek buttermilk+1/2 cup french beans sabji
Evening (4:00-4:30PM)1 cup green tea+2-3 biscuits
Dinner (8:00-8:30PM)3 jowar roti+1/2 cup colocasia(arbi) curry+1/2 cup cucumber salad
Breakfast (8:00-8:30AM)1 cup bajra upma with vegetables+1 glass milk/1 cup tea(toned)
Mid-Meal (11:00-11:30AM)100gm musk melon
Lunch (2:00-2:30PM)1 cup brown rice+2 jowar roti+1/2 cup snake gourd sabji+1/2 cup rasam+1 glass buttermilk
Evening (4:00-4:30PM)1 cup green tea+2-3 biscuits
Dinner (8:00-8:30PM)3 bajra roti+ 1/2 cup ridge gourd(thori) curry+1/2 cup cucumber salad
Breakfast (8:00-8:30AM)2 paratha(aloo/gobhi/methi) with 2 tsp green chutney+1 glass milk(toned)/ 1 cup tea
Mid-Meal (11:00-11:30AM)100gm pomegranate
Lunch (2:00-2:30PM)1 cup brown rice+2 bajra roti+1/2 cup fenugreek buttermilk+1/2 cup capsicum sabji
Evening (4:00-4:30PM)1 cup green tea+2-3 biscuits
Dinner (8:00-8:30PM)3 jowar roti+1/2 cup raw banana curry+1/2 cup cucumber salad
Breakfast (8:00-8:30AM)Vegetable sandwich with 4 whole wheat bread slices+banana,cucumber, onion,lettuce+1 glass milk(toned)/ 1 cup tea
Mid-Meal (11:00-11:30AM)100 gm of pineapple
Lunch (2:00-2:30PM)1 cup brown rice+2 jowar roti+1/2 cup rasam+1/2 cup ivy gourd(parmal) sabji+1 glass buttermilk
Evening (4:00-4:30PM)1 cup green tea+2-3 biscuits
Dinner (8:00-8:30PM)3 bajra roti+1/2 cup tinda curry+ 1/2 cup cucumber salad

Rheumatoid Arthritis Diet Restrictions: Food Items To Limit

The food stuffs that limit calcium absorption should be limited.

  1. Phytates: Found in nuts, seeds and grains. They easily bind to calcium therefore limiting its availability for absorption. Try not to eat phytate-containing foods and dairy foods together.
  2. Oxalates: Found in sweet potatoes, rhubarb, spinach and beetroot. Very reactive molecules. Bind to calcium therefore reducing its absorption. Interfere with calcium storage in cells. Don’t eliminate these food just be aware that they are not the best providers of calcium.
  3. Alcohol: Interferes with vitamin D activation by the liver and kidneys. Inhibits vitamin D activating enzymes in the liver. It is a diuretic therefore it increases calcium excretion through urine. Increases Parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels and therefore decreases calcium reserves in the body. Try to limit your alcohol intake.
  4. Caffeine: It is believed that caffeine decreases calcium absorption by interfering with vitamin D absoprtion. Caffeine is also a diuretic therefore it increases calcium excretion in the urine.

Do’s And Dont’s While Following Diet Plan for Rheumatoid Arthritis

To control rheumatoid arthritis, you can start making some simple changes in your lifestyles and food habits which are mentioned below, along with the diet plan mentioned above:


  1. Include high calcium rich foods (beans, milk, cheese, tofu, fish, dry fruits)
  2. Eat fresh, alkalizing vegetables and fruits every day, preferably organic.
  3. Prefer home made foods over outside foods.
  4. Do check for iodine content on food labels.
  5. Include omega-3 rich foods such as fish, walnuts, almonds, flax seeds, olive oil, canola oil.


  1. Avoid consumption of caffeinated products.
  2. Limit the intake of phosphorus containing foods- meat, soft drinks. Never consume Iron rich foods along with calcium rich foods as that might lead to malabsorption.
  3. Foods with high levels of oxalic acid such as spinach, collard greens, sweet potatoes, rhubarb and beans prevent calcium absorption. So don’t consume calcium rich foods along with these foods.

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