Avoid these 5 foods to improve your arthritis symptoms

What you eat can help reduce inflammation and lessen symptoms

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The Atlanta-based Arthritis Foundation states that arthritis, a chronic disease of the joints, is the No. 1 cause of disability in America.

Symptoms typically include swelling and pain in the joints as well as stiffness and lessened range of motion. They can range from mild to severe and can come and go.

Although the disease is known to affect older people — symptoms can stay the same or get worse over time — it also affects 300,000 children. More than 50 million adults have arthritis and if you are among them, it may be helpful to know how a dietary change can improve symptoms, which in severe cases can lead to chronic pain and restricted mobility.

Medical News Today reports that diet can help arthritis by lessening inflammation levels — that can be helpful in all forms of arthritis. They include rheumatoid arthritis (RA), which affects more than just the joints; it can also affect the organs.

If you want to see how dietary adjustments could improve your symptoms, below are five foods Medical News Today notes you should avoid:

Inflammatory fats

While you may enjoy burgers, steaks and fried foods, these kinds of meals aren’t ideal for people with arthritis and should be avoided according to the Arthritis Foundation. Omega 6 fatty acids, which along with saturated fats are found in meats and fried foods, as well as trans fats found in fast food items and bakery products, can go against an anti-inflammatory diet.

“There is accumulating evidence that diet certainly impacts whether our body has an inflammatory environment versus an anti-inflammatory environment,” Melinda Ring, M.D., executive director of the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Northwestern University and clinical associate professor at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine told Self magazine.


A 2018 study published in the journal Arthritis Care & Research found that sugar-laden soda and desserts were most frequently stated as dietary items that worsened RA symptoms. But sugar is not just in soda and sweets. Hidden sugars can be found in seemingly healthy items such as granola bars and yogurt, according to WebMD.


Gluten-free diets have increased in popularity over the last few years, but while it may be a fad for some, it could be a worthwhile change for people with arthritis. In a randomized study published in The Open Rheumatology Journal in 2018, 66 patients with RA who took on a gluten-free, vegan diet showed possible anti-inflammatory changes as well as those that protected against the build-up of fats in the arteries.

Nightshades vegetables

If you enjoy bell peppers in your salad but notice it aggravates your symptoms, you might want to consider giving them up.

Bell peppers, chilli peppers, eggplants, potatoes and tomatoes are among the vegetables that contain solanine, which according to the Arthritis Foundation is a chemical some people anecdotally state can exacerbate their symptoms. Still, rheumatologist/immunologist Leonard Calabrese told Cleveland Clinic “it is highly unlikely that avoiding the trace amounts of solanine found in nightshade vegetables will ease your arthritic pain or inflammation. Research to support this claim just isn’t there.”

Purines-containing foods

If you suffer from gout, also known as gouty arthritis, there are certain foods that can be limited in your diet to reduce the severe pain and tenderness that occurs in the joints. This happens when uric acid builds up in the bloodstream and causes a gout attack. Since foods including organ meats, red meat and seafood like shellfish can contain high amounts of purines, they should be restricted in the diet. Purines convert to uric acid in the body, leading to symptoms of gout. According to the Mayo Clinic, following a diet that involves these measures “may lower the risk of recurring gout attacks and slow the progression of joint damage.”