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All You Need to Know About Diet in Arthritis

Written byNikhil Ambatkar

Last updated on : 16 May, 2024

Read time : 8 min

Arthritis is a broad word for more than one hundred and fifty ailments. The proper phrase for this range of health issues is musculoskeletal conditions, which can affect your muscles, bones, and joints. There isn’t any particular diet or food that can heal arthritis and related musculoskeletal conditions. Still, everybody can benefit from a nutritious and balanced diet to preserve their overall well-being.

Specific issues may be alleviated by altering your nutritional habits. For example,

  • Individuals suffering from inflammatory disorders, including rheumatoid arthritis, may find relief from consuming more omega-3 fatty acids, which can be found in oily fish like sardines and salmon.
  • Gout sufferers may find it beneficial to abstain from certain foods with high purine content, such as organ meats, seafood and beer, and to ensure they stay well-hydrated by drinking adequate water.

Diet in Arthritis 

To achieve optimal physical health, consuming a wide selection of nutritious foods is recommended. Many individuals experience improved health benefits by maintaining a diversified and balanced diet, which provides their bodies with essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other nutrients.

Incorporating a Mediterranean-style diet in arthritis, which emphasises fish, pulses, nuts, olive oil, and abundant fruits and vegetables, is advised. Proper hydration and a balanced diet can help keep your energy levels stable, support a healthy weight, and improve overall well-being, positively impacting your symptoms.

It is imperative to consult your physician or nutritionist before changing your dietary routine. More than incorrect restriction of food intake or excessive use of specific nutrients may prove ineffective. Certain supplements may even react with existing medication. It is advisable to receive expert advice before implementation.

The Mediterranean diet is packed with foods that are beneficial for joint health. Here are some essential foods good for arthritis and gout.

Fruits & Vegetables

It is recommended to consume approximately nine cups of fruits and vegetables daily, with one cup equaling one serving for most products and two cups being the equivalent of one serving with leafy greens.

Fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants that can protect the body from free radicals, which are molecules that can damage cells. Studies have revealed that anthocyanins in cherries and other red and purple fruits such as strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries possess anti-inflammatory properties. This anti-inflammatory help in reducing the inflammation that occurs in arthritis.

Citrus fruits, such as oranges, grapefruits and limes, are a great source of vitamin C and are the best fruits for arthritis. Studies have demonstrated that adequate levels of this vitamin can help prevent inflammatory arthritis and keep your joints healthy. Additionally, research suggests that consuming foods high in vitamin K, such as broccoli, spinach, lettuce, kale and cabbage, can significantly reduce inflammatory markers in the blood.

Brightly coloured fruits and vegetables are richer in antioxidants than their pale counterparts. For example, blueberries, cherries, spinach, kale, and broccoli are excellent sources of antioxidants (assist in reducing the destruction that arthritis causes on cartilage).

Starchy Foods

Eating foods high in both starch and fibre can give you the energy boost you need to get through the day while also aiding in keeping your bowels in check. They are also quite delicious, so you can satisfy your cravings without feeling guilty. Furthermore, these foods are usually low in fat, meaning that you can get all the necessary vitamins and minerals without worrying about excess weight gain. 

Additionally, these foods can be beneficial if you are struggling with either diarrhoea or constipation, which can be a side effect of certain arthritis medications.

If you’re looking to reduce the number of fats and sugars in your eating habits, starchy foods are an excellent substitute for your body’s energy needs. Carbohydrates in starchy foods can provide your body with an alternate fuel source and even help regulate your digestion if you experience frequent diarrhoea.

Beginning to take certain arthritis drugs (such as oral, gold, or NSAIDs) may cause diarrhoea. If the diarrhoea persists while you are on a medication, it’s essential to alert your doctor – you may be able to switch to another medication.

Foods Containing Protein 

Nuts are a great way to get a good proportion of protein without all the saturated fats or cholesterol from animal proteins. Not only are they delicious on their own, but you can add them to various dishes to boost your meal’s protein. Try them in yoghurt, salads, or other healthy dishes for a nutritious and tasty addition.

Keep watch on your sodium intake by selecting nuts without added salt. Swapping out a single portion of red meat for just a quarter cup of unsalted nuts can help to avoid inflammation. Moreover, nuts provide a healthy dose of fibre, whereas meat does not.

Dairy and Dairy Alternatives

Dairy products such as milk, yoghurt, and cheese are excellent sources of calcium and vitamin D. These essential nutrients have been shown to contribute to stronger bones, which can help alleviate the discomfort associated with various conditions.

Milk also has proteins that give the body the necessary building blocks to create muscle. Those aiming to manage their weight can opt for lower-fat milk products.

Those experiencing inflammatory signs associated with gout may find that drinking skim or low-fat milk can be a helpful guard against the condition. 

Healthy Fats – Unsaturated Oils and Spreads

Instead of vegetable or corn oil, try canola and olive oil, which contain a beneficial combination of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Research has indicated that an oleocanthal element in olive oil has anti-inflammatory characteristics and benefits heart health.

Besides oily fish, other kinds of oils can help to reduce inflammation. Extra virgin olive oil has oleocanthal in it, which has a similar effect to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Foods to Avoid if You Have Arthritis

Living with arthritis can cause inflammation, so you must be mindful of what you eat. Eating foods known for their anti-inflammatory properties can help reduce symptoms; conversely, limiting or avoiding food that may contribute to inflammation is wise.

Following are the foods to avoid with arthritis 


The added sugars in sweetened drinks such as soda, sweet tea, flavoured coffees, and some juices can stimulate the production of cytokines, which trigger inflammation in the body. This type of sugar is particularly likely to increase the severity of any existing inflammatory conditions.

Saturated Fat

Heavy consumption of foods rich in saturated fats, like pizza and red meat, can cause inflammation in the fat tissue. It not only increases the chance of obesity, heart disease and other health problems but can also aggravate inflammation associated with arthritis.

Refined carbohydrates

Refined carbohydrates, like white bread, white rice and potato chips, can encourage the production of AGE oxidants, which can cause inflammation in the body. Consuming these foods should be done cautiously as they can negatively impact health.

Takeaway Message

Research shows that certain foods and nutrients may be beneficial for relieving arthritis symptoms. These arthritis treatment foods can help by reducing inflammation, providing essential nutrients, and strengthening bones, muscles, and the immune system.

Carrying excess weight can add extra strain to the joints, increasing the severity of arthritis symptoms, so limiting or avoiding foods known to induce inflammation is wise.

Maintaining a healthy weight through a balanced diet full of plant-based ingredients, plenty of fibre and anti-inflammatory forms of fat (like those found in the Mediterranean diet) can benefit those suffering from arthritis. It can help reduce pain, swelling, and other associated symptoms.

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The information given in this article is accurate to our best knowledge. Still, we recommend you consult your healthcare professional before taking any medication or dietary supplements mentioned in this article.

Frequently asked questions

Can arthritis be cured?

Unfortunately, arthritis is an incurable condition. The primary aim of treatment is to reduce discomfort, decrease inflammation, and maintain joint functionality. Different ways of managing the condition include medications, shedding excess weight, physical activity, and surgical intervention.

At what age does arthritis start?

Arthritis typically affects individuals between the ages of 40 and 60 and is more prevalent in women than men. Fortunately, medications can help reduce joint pain and swelling by suppressing an overly active immune system.

Can arthritis spread?

Arthritis cannot be caught by another person. It is not an infectious condition and cannot be transferred through body fluids or contact with objects used by an infected individual. While many diseases can be spread from one person to another, that’s not the case for arthritis.

Can ayurveda cure arthritis?

Ayurvedic therapy is a comprehensive approach emphasising nutrition, exercise, and other lifestyle modifications. It can help reduce inflammation and pain associated with arthritic episodes.

What is the best treatment for arthritis?

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can be a great way to help manage any pain or swelling you may be experiencing. Popular brands include Advil, Motrin IB, and Aleve.

What is the recommended diet in arthritis?

It’s essential to maintain a healthy diet in arthritis in order to feel your best! Try to incorporate a Mediterranean-style diet in arthritis, which includes items like fish, pulses, nuts, olive oil, and. Eating this diet has a lot of benefits beyond its variety and flavour. You’ll get the essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other needed nutrients that your body needs.

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Our healthcare experts have carefully reviewed and compiled the information presented here to ensure accuracy and trustworthiness. It is important to note that this information serves as a general overview of the topic and is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, prevent, or cure any health problem. This page does not establish a doctor-patient relationship, nor does it replace the advice or consultation of a registered medical practitioner. We recommend seeking guidance from your registered medical practitioner for any questions or concerns regarding your medical condition.


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