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Today, we are facing a new era of digitization in the health care system, and with increased access to health care information has come a growing demand for safe, cost-effective and easy to administer therapies. Dietary habits have a crucial influence on human health, affecting an individual's risk for hypertension, heart disease and stroke, as well as influencing the risk of developing of cancer. Moreover, an individual's lifestyle choices can greatly influence the progression and manifestation of chronic autoimmune rheumatic diseases. In light of these effects, it makes sense that the search for additional therapies to attenuate such diseases would include investigations into lifestyle modifications. When considering the complex web of factors that influence autoimmunity, it is not surprising to find that several dietary elements are involved in disease progression or prevention. In this Review, several common nutritional components of the human diet are presented, and the evidence for their effects on rheumatic diseases is discussed.