Accumulating research evidence suggests that nutrition might be implicated in the risk of development and in the management of autoimmune disease, including rheumatoid arthritis (RA), characterized by immune-inflammatory response. Nutrition can have direct roles through the provision of pro- or anti-inflammatory foods, and indirect roles through management of co-morbidity management. The review updates on the evidence relating RA risk and management with focus on specific foods such as fish and diets/dietary patterns such as the Mediterranean diet, fasting and elimination diets and oral nutritional supplements including omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). Evidence on herbs and spices, beverages, Vitamin D, and probiotics is also reviewed. Diet has been shown to improve disease activity through reducing inflammation and oxidation and through its beneficial effects on the gut microbiota. Based on the existing evidence, it is recommended that as an adjunct to medical treatment, nutrition therapy for RA should be based on an anti-inflammatory Mediterranean diet (MD) supplemented with at least twice a week consumption of oily fish and/or omega-3 PUFA supplements at 2 g/day. The need for rheumatologists to work more closely with registered dietitians in the management of patients particularly in supporting a well-balanced diet according to individual needs, is highlighted.
- Anti-inflammatory diet
- Autoimmune disease
- Mediterranean diet
- Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids
- Rheumatoid arthritis