According to some estimates, rheumatoid arthritis affects up to 1% of the adult population worldwide, but the elderly are the most common victims. Rheumatoid arthritis is defined as a chronic systemic disease characterized by inflammation of the joints and related structures of the body, resulting in deformity of the body. The exact etiology (cause of the disease) is unknown, but it is thought to be an autoimmune disease. Scientists believe that there is no scientific evidence that any specific food or nutrient, with the exception of essential fatty acids, helps or harms people with rheumatoid arthritis. Scientists generally recommend a nutrient-dense diet and emphasize the need for adequate intake of calories, protein, and calcium. People with rheumatoid arthritis are given the following recommendations: It is necessary to consume 1-2 g of protein per kilogram of body weight (to compensate for the loss of proteins during inflammatory processes). You need to take extra folic acid to prevent the side effects of methotrexate. Methotrexate is an anti-metabolic substance that blocks the reactions necessary for the production of precursors in DNA synthesis. Folic acid is displaced from the enzyme dihydrofolate reductase by this substance, and free folic acid is released. Low dose methotrexate is often used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis to suppress the immune system. Because there is no recognized cure for rheumatoid arthritis, current treatments for this disease are limited primarily to symptomatic relief with medications. Some drugs are used only as pain relievers, others as anti-inflammatory drugs. There are so-called basic drugs for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, which are used to slow down the course of the disease. Corticosteroids, also known as glucocorticoids, such as urbazone and prednisone, are used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis because they counteract inflammation and suppress the immune system. These potent agents put patients at increased risk of osteoporosis. People undergoing long-term steroid treatment should consult a dietitian for advice on calcium intake, vitamin D intake, and exercise to prevent osteoporosis. Refusal of certain products There is anecdotal evidence that people with rheumatoid arthritis experience relief with dietary changes. The most commonly reported symptom triggers include milk protein, corn, wheat, citrus fruits, eggs, red meat, sugar, fats, salt, caffeine, and nightshade plants such as potatoes and eggplant. plant based diets Regarding the role of gut bacteria in the development of rheumatoid arthritis, people suffering from it have a large number of Proteus mirabilis antibodies, compared with healthy people and people suffering from other diseases. Vegetarians have significantly lower levels of antibodies, which is associated with moderate attenuation of the disease. It can be assumed that a plant-based diet has a positive effect on the presence of intestinal bacteria such as Proteus mirabilis, as well as on the body’s response to such bacteria. Weight reduction Because being overweight puts extra stress on the joints, weight loss through diet can be a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. Effects of long chain fatty acids Evidence from numerous studies suggests that dietary manipulation of fatty acids has a beneficial effect on inflammatory processes. Prostaglandin metabolism depends on the type and amount of fatty acids in the diet, and changes in prostaglandin concentrations can affect the body’s immune responses. A diet high in polyunsaturated fat and low in saturated fat, as well as daily consumption of eicosapentaenoic acid, leads to the disappearance of such a rheumatological symptom as morning stiffness and to a decrease in the number of diseased joints; refusal of such a diet leads to withdrawal symptoms. Vegetarians can boost their omega-3 intake by using flax seeds and other plant foods. The role of other nutrients Some studies have shown that people with rheumatoid arthritis are worsened by inadequate intake of vitamins and nutrients. Patients with arthritis find it difficult to cook and eat due to pain in the joints of the hands. Lack of movement and obesity are also a problem. Therefore, people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis should seek advice from experts on nutrition, food preparation, and weight loss. Patients with rheumatoid arthritis are more likely to die from cardiovascular disease. Elevated homocysteine levels are associated with rheumatoid arthritis. A similar phenomenon is observed even in people who do not take methotrexate, which affects the content of folate in the body. Since a vegetarian diet is effective in combating cardiovascular disease, it can also help people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Undoubtedly, a diet high in plant foods high in folate would be a smart choice for people with high levels of homocysteine in their blood. We do not currently have definitive opinions from the scientific community on the effect of vegetarianism on rheumatoid arthritis, but it makes sense for sick people to try out a vegetarian or vegan diet and see how it helps them. In any case, a vegetarian diet has a beneficial effect on health and such an experiment will not be superfluous.