Foods that can improve or worsen arthritis

Foods that can improve or worsen arthritis


There are various types of arthritis (such as gouty or septic) but the most common forms are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. People with these two types typically limit their activities and take medications to decrease pain and inflammation. But, are there foods that can be emphasized or avoided that might minimize symptoms? 

There is no specific diet that can make arthritis disappear, but for many people, avoiding certain foods and eating more of others can give significant relief, and may help decrease the use of medications. In fact, some foods (such as extra-virgin olive oil) contain natural components that are similar to anti-inflammatory medications such as Ibuprofen.

Foods that HELP rheumatoid arthritis

This highlight of this disease is inflammation (rather than the wear-and-tear of osteoarthritis).  These dietary recommendations are focused on decreasing overall body inflammation.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna (fresh best), sardines; consider omega-3 supplements if don’t eat enough fish

Extra-virgin olive oil

More expensive but worth it. It contains oleocanthal which decreases the damage from the COX enzymes (similar to Ibuprofen).

Green tea

Better than black or herbal teas. Contains strong anti-inflammatory antioxidants and flavonoids. 

High fiber foods

Such as oats, brown rice, beans, lentils, quinoa

Others: Garlic, Ginger, Broccoli, Nuts, Berries, Chia

Foods to AVOID in rheumatoid arthritis

These tend to increase inflammation in your body.


Saturated and Trans Fats

Excess Omega-6 Fatty Acids (found in most oils such as corn, safflower, sunflower)

Refined carbohydrates (white bread, white rice)

Excess alcohol

Fried foods and advanced glycation end products (especially from foods overcooked or blackened in barbeques) 

Some people may have problems with the “nightshade” class of vegetables (tomatoes, bell peppers, white potatoes, eggplant); you might try eliminating these for a couple weeks to see if helps 

Foods to HELP osteoarthritis

This arthritis is worsened with excess weight, which increases pressure and wear-and-tear damage on joints. So, it is important to keep your weight under control—a more plant based, or Mediterranean diet is ideal. Beyond that, some specific foods that may help include:

Broccoli and cabbage 

Garlic, onions, leeks

Milk (If not otherwise intolerant to dairy, has been shown to help some people. Worth trying to see if helps you.)

Foods to AVOID in osteoarthritis

The main goal here is to keep your weight under control, so avoiding sugar, saturated and trans fats, and refined carbohydrates such as white bread may be most helpful. 

To find a doctor, of any specialty, anywhere in Brazil, check out our website:

See also in ProcuraMed:

Choose your pain medication wisely if you have arthritis

Do supplements help knee arthritis pain?

Esta postagem também está disponível em: Portuguese (Brazil)

Recommended doctors

This post is related to specialty Rheumatology. Below is a list of some physicians related to this specialty.