Combat Arthritis: The Best and Worst Foods to Eat

Dr. Jessica Nelson
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Combat Arthritis: The Best and Worst Foods to Eat

Combat Arthritis: The Best and Worst Foods to Eat

Arthritis sufferers know all too well: what you eat can make a huge difference in your symptoms. While there's no magic food that will instantly relieve arthritis, certain foods have been shown to fight inflammation, strengthen bones, and boost the immune system, aiding you in your combat against this debilitating disease. But just as there are foods to favor, there are others to avoid that could trigger flare-ups and intensify the disease's progression. Let's dive into the best – and worst – foods for arthritis.

The Best Foods for Arthritis

Fiber-Rich Foods

Foods high in fiber, like whole grains, have been shown to reduce inflammation. They fulfill this function by lowering levels of C-reactive protein, an inflammation marker in the blood. High-fiber sources include oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice, and whole-grain bread.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial for reducing joint stiffness and pain, common symptoms of arthritis. You can get these essential fats from fish like salmon, mackerel, and tuna or from plant-based sources like walnuts, flaxseeds, and chia seeds.

Vitamin D and Calcium-Rich Foods

Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, crucial for bone health. Foods rich in these nutrients, such as dairy products, green leafy vegetables, and fortified products, can help manage osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Antioxidant-Rich Foods

Brightly colored fruits and vegetables are packed with antioxidants, which help combat inflammation. Berries, cherishes, spinach, and sweet potatoes are some excellent choices.

The Worst Foods for Arthritis

Sugar and Refined Carbohydrates

Overconsumption of sugar leads to inflammation, obesity, and diabetes, all of which are known to aggravate arthritis symptoms. Similarly, refined carbs like white bread and pastries can lead to inflammation and worsen arthritis symptoms.

Saturated and Trans Fats

Fats found in red meat, butter, and fried foods can trigger inflammation. Furthermore, trans fats, found in processed and fast foods, can stimulate systemic inflammation.

Nightshade Vegetables

While not universally agreed upon, some arthritis sufferers report flare-ups after consuming nightshades like tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and potatoes. If you notice a correlation, it might be worth reducing these foods in your diet.


Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to a higher risk of developing gout, a type of arthritis. If you have arthritis, it's recommended to consume alcohol in moderation if at all.


Remember, everyone is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another. Trial and error play a big part in finding the foods that aid your symptoms and those that trigger them. Always consult your healthcare provider before making any drastic changes to your diet and remember that balanced nutrition is crucial in managing any chronic disease, including arthritis.

Immune System Arthritis Antioxidant Omega-3 Fatty Acid Fiber-Rich Foods