Foods to Avoid When Taking Humira (Adalimumab)

Humira, also known as adalimumab, is a biologic medication commonly prescribed to treat autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, Crohn’s disease, and more. 

It works by suppressing the immune system’s response to inflammation. 

When taking Humira, there are certain dietary considerations that you should be aware of.

In this article, we will explore foods to avoid when taking Humira, foods that are safe to consume, and other important information related to Humira and dietary choices.

Foods to Avoid While on Biologics Like Humira

When taking Humira, it’s essential to be mindful of your dietary choices. Some foods may interact with the medication or exacerbate its side effects. 

Here are foods to avoid or consume in moderation while on Humira:


Studies show that consuming alcohol while on Humira can increase the risk of liver problems. 

Furthermore, alcohol can exacerbate some of the medication’s common side effects, such as dizziness and fatigue. 

It is advisable to consult your healthcare provider regarding alcohol consumption for personalized guidance.


While there is no direct evidence linking gluten to interactions with Humira, some people with autoimmune conditions may also have gluten sensitivity or celiac disease. 

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye, and it can trigger an immune response in those with sensitivity. 

If you suspect gluten intolerance or have been diagnosed with celiac disease, adopting a gluten-free diet may help alleviate symptoms and improve overall well-being, which can complement the effectiveness of Humira treatment.

Processed Foods

Highly processed foods often contain high levels of added sugars, unhealthy fats, and artificial additives. 

These components can contribute to inflammation in the body, which is counterproductive when taking Humira to reduce inflammation. 

Examples of highly processed foods to avoid while taking Humira include:

  • fast food
  • sugary snacks
  • processed meats

Raw Sprouts

Raw sprouts like alfalfa and bean sprouts have been associated with foodborne illnesses, particularly due to their potential to harbor harmful bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella. 

For people with compromised immune systems, such as those taking Humira, these infections can be more severe and challenging to fight off. 

Cooking sprouts thoroughly before consumption can eliminate the risk of bacterial contamination, making them a safer choice.

Undercooked or Raw Seafood

Raw or undercooked seafood, such as sushi, may carry pathogens like bacteria, viruses, and parasites that can cause foodborne illnesses. 

Patients on Humira may have a weakened immune response due to the medication’s immunosuppressive effects, making them more susceptible to infections. 

To reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses, it’s essential to consume seafood that is properly cooked and sourced from reputable suppliers.

Foods High in Sugar

Excessive sugar consumption can promote inflammation. This inflammation can undermine the benefits of Humira, which is intended to reduce inflammation. 

Consuming sugary beverages and sweets can also lead to fluctuations in blood sugar levels, exacerbating symptoms like fatigue and dizziness that some people experience when taking Humira. 


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Safe Foods to Eat While on Humira

While taking Humira, it’s important to focus on a balanced diet that includes specific food groups for several compelling reasons:

Fruits and Vegetables

A diet rich in fruits and vegetables is essential for people with autoimmune conditions for several reasons. These foods are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. 

Antioxidants help combat free radicals in the body, which can contribute to inflammation and tissue damage. 

By reducing inflammation, fruits and vegetables can help manage the symptoms of autoimmune conditions and support the body’s healing processes.

Lean Proteins

Maintaining muscle mass is crucial for people with autoimmune conditions, as muscle weakness can be a common symptom. 

Lean protein sources like poultry, fish, and tofu provide the necessary amino acids to support muscle health and repair. 

Additionally, these proteins are less likely to contribute to inflammation compared to fatty cuts of meat.

Whole Grains

Whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, and whole wheat are superior choices compared to refined grains like white rice and white bread. 

They are rich in fiber, which aids in digestion and helps regulate blood sugar levels. Whole grains also contain a wealth of vitamins and minerals that are important for overall health. 

By stabilizing blood sugar levels and providing essential nutrients, whole grains can contribute to better energy levels and less inflammation.

Healthy Fats

Sources of healthy fats like avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil are essential in autoimmune conditions. 

These fats contain omega-3 fatty acids, which have well-documented anti-inflammatory properties. 

By reducing inflammation in the body, healthy fats can help alleviate symptoms and improve overall health. 

Additionally, they support brain function and cardiovascular health.

Probiotic Foods

Gut health is closely linked to autoimmune conditions. Probiotic foods like yogurt contain beneficial bacteria that can support a healthy gut microbiome. 

A balanced gut microbiome regulates the immune system and reduces inflammation. Incorporating probiotic foods into your diet can help maintain a well-functioning digestive system, which is especially important for those with autoimmune conditions.

Anti-Inflammatory Herbs and Spices

Turmeric, ginger, garlic, and cinnamon are known for their potent anti-inflammatory properties. 

Curcumin, found in turmeric, is a powerful natural anti-inflammatory compound. These herbs and spices can be incorporated into various dishes to enhance flavor and reduce inflammation. 

Including them in your diet can be a flavorful and healthful way to manage autoimmune symptoms.

Low-Fat Dairy Alternatives

If you enjoy dairy but have concerns about digestive issues, choosing low-fat or lactose-free options can help minimize discomfort. 

Some patients with autoimmune conditions may experience digestive problems related to dairy consumption. 

Opting for low-fat or lactose-free dairy alternatives can provide the nutritional benefits of dairy without the potential drawbacks.

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What Interacts with Humira?

Besides dietary considerations, it’s important to be aware of other factors that can interact with Humira:

  • Vaccines: Consult your healthcare provider before receiving vaccines while on Humira, as some vaccines may be less effective due to the medication’s impact on the immune system.
  • Infections: Be cautious about infections like tuberculosis (TB) and bacterial infections. Humira can increase the risk of these infections, so report any symptoms to your healthcare provider promptly.
  • Other Medications: Inform your healthcare provider about any other medications or supplements you are taking, as they can interact with Humira and potentially lead to adverse effects.
  • Latex Allergy: Some Humira delivery devices contain latex. If you have a latex allergy, inform your healthcare provider to ensure you receive a latex-free option.
  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, discuss the risks and benefits of Humira with your healthcare provider. It is essential to make an informed decision regarding medication use during these periods.


Humira is a valuable medication for managing autoimmune conditions, but it’s essential to be mindful of your diet and other factors that can interact with the medication. 

Avoid or consume certain foods in moderation while taking Humira to minimize the risk of adverse effects and inflammation. 

Prioritize a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. 

Additionally, discuss any concerns or questions about Humira with your healthcare provider, as they can provide personalized guidance based on your specific health needs.

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  1. Neri, Piergiorgio, et al. “Adalimumab (Humira™): a promising monoclonal anti-tumor necrosis factor alpha in ophthalmology.” International ophthalmology 31 (2011): 165-173.
  2. Maher, Jacquelyn J. “Exploring alcohol’s effects on liver function.” Alcohol health and research world 21.1 (1997): 5.
  3. La Villa, Giorgio, et al. “Multiple immune disorders in unrecognized celiac disease: a case report.” World Journal of Gastroenterology: WJG 9.6 (2003): 1377.
  4. Knox, Ryan, and Gregory Curfman. “The Humira patent thicket, the Noerr–Pennington doctrine and antitrust’s patent problem.” Nature Biotechnology 40.12 (2022): 1761-1763.
  5. Noll, Natalie. “Analysis of Humira, Electro-Acupuncture, and Pulsatile Dry Cupping on Reducing Joint Inflammation in Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis.” (2015).

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