Foods to Avoid with Arthritis

Arthritis refers to the inflammation of joints. A person may suffer from osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. While suffering from any disease, there are always some food items which should be avoided so that the disease does not spiral out of hand.
HealthHearty Staff
Last Updated: Mar 1, 2018
Arthritis is a type of joint disorders that arise due to joint degeneration, aging, autoimmunity, or infections. Since the most prominent feature of arthritis is pain and inflammation, it is important that foods which help in alleviating the condition should be consumed. As a matter of fact, oftentimes it is said that the battle against arthritis can be won with the right kind of foods. The following is a list of foods from which you will want to stay away from, if you are suffering from arthritis.
Foods to Avoid When Suffering From Arthritis
All the types of arthritis, namely osteoarthritis, gout, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, etc., take a toll on your bone health, and hence it is the most important factor to be considered while introducing dietary changes. In addition, it is very essential to maintain a healthy weight, since higher weight causes more stress on fragile bones and painful joints, especially knees. Being so, the diet for an individual suffering from arthritis should include calcium and iron-rich foods, but at the same time must be low on foods that have a high fat content.
  • In individuals suffering from arthritis, the serum calcium levels as well as calcium to phosphorous ratio has been found to be lowered, and is associated with the loss of bone mineral density. To cope with this, the diet should be rich in calcium-containing foods, and low in phosphorous-rich foods like red meat, organ meats like kidney and liver, processed meat, and soft drinks. Packed or canned food items with added phosphorus must be avoided. Dairy products are a major source of calcium but are also high in phosphorous, and hence must be consumed in moderation. Calcium requirements can be catered to by including foods like kale, broccoli, salmon, sardines, oatmeal, and arugula.
  • Caffeine is next in the foods to be avoided when suffering from arthritis list. It causes loss of vital minerals and vitamins from the body. As far as possible, avoid decaffeinated drinks as well. Although these drinks are 'decaffeinated', they still contain caffeine.
  • Sugar hampers the absorption of nutrients and calcium, and is also associated with weight gain. Foods and beverages with artificial sweeteners must be avoided by people who have arthritis.
  • Antacids have been associated with a risk of digestive disorders in arthritis patients, and hence must be avoided.
  • Fried foods and vegetable oil is also a strict no-no when you are suffering from arthritis. Omega 6, present in vegetable oil, worsens inflammation and may even lead to weight gain.
  • Alcohol should be avoided at all costs as it hampers calcium absorption in the body.
  • Salt is also an ingredient that has been associated with inflammation flares in arthritic individuals. Hence, excess consumption of salt as well as food items containing added salts and preservatives must be avoided.
  • Oxalic acid has been known to hamper the health of joints and hence one must reduce the consumption of foods like cranberries, plums, and chard.
  • Nightshades are a set of foods containing high amounts of alkaloids which may contribute to a loss of calcium from bones. These foods include potatoes, tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers, eggplant, paprika, and cayenne peppers.
  • Butter and margarine should be avoided as far as possible as it can further inflame the joints and aggravate the condition. Excessive consumption may contribute to weight gain.
  • Dry roasted nuts are known to aggravate the condition associated with arthritis, although one can have raw nuts like almonds, Brazil nuts, walnuts, etc.
Foods to Have When Suffering from Arthritis
Certain foods that have been suggested to reduce pain and inflammation associated with arthritis are described below.
  • The most essential foods which you should have when suffering from arthritis are ginger, garlic, and turmeric since they have been shown to cause anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Arthritic diet should be high Vitamin A-rich foods like squash, collard, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, etc.
  • Flaxseed contains Omega 3 essential fatty acids. These seeds can be consumed in powdered form as well.
  • Have nuts and seeds like walnut, almond, linseed, pumpkin seed, etc., which are not roasted and are not salted.
  • Pulses, lentils, brown unpolished rice should be consumed.
  • People with arthritis benefit a great deal from food rich in magnesium like apricots, bananas, whole grains, leafy vegetables.
  • Fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, tuna, trout, and sardines are rich sources of Omega 3 essential fatty acids and Vitamin E, which help in alleviating arthritic condition.
Note: There is not yet enough scientific evidence to tell if and how people with certain kinds of arthritis should change their diet. For this reason any claims for a special diet for arthritis are unproven.
- University of Washington Department of Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

It is important that you are well observant about what you eat, and identify the foods that help you, and also the ones that aggravate your condition. It is ideal to prepare your own 'to-avoid' list, and discuss it with the concerned medical professional. The key, however, is to eat whole natural healthy food. Along with some food restrictions, it is important that you follow other precautionary measures suggested by your healthcare professional.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for professional medical advice.
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