There are many different types of arthritis. The causes of some are well known, while others are less established and may be attributed to genetic variations or environmental factors. In general, though, since arthritis involves inflammation in and around the joints, anything you can do to reduce inflammation or irritation to your body has the possibility to reduce your symptoms, including swelling, pain, and degeneration of bone, cartilage, and other tissue.
Foods arthritis sufferers should avoid include anything pro-inflammatory. The processes used to break down food in the body cause mild, ongoing inflammation, so while it’s important to have proper nutrition and keep your energy up, some patients have had success with cutting back on snacking or implementing intermittent fasting. Drinking lots of water and keeping your hydration level up can help. Stimulants tend to be pro-inflammatory, so avoid irritants like alcohol and caffeine—although beneficial compounds in red wine make it a better choice than most.
Arthritis sufferers should avoid prepared foods with preservatives and limit salt and sugar intake. Chemicals and carbohydrates in general can stimulate an inflammatory response, and since people have different food sensitivities, it’s well worth trying an elimination diet to identify any food that might be uniquely inflammatory to you. For many, avoiding grains is helpful. Dairy can also be pro-inflammatory, and red meat.
Arthritis sufferers should not avoid healthy fats. Vegetable oils and high-fructose corn syrup can both raise inflammation, and fried food is going to raise inflammation, but natural saturated fats like olive oil and avocado and fatty fish like salmon can help—think of it like natural lubricant, and avoid pairing fats with carbohydrate or sugar for best results. Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage) and garlic have compounds that may help limit pain and damage.
In general, whole vegetables, seasonings and spices, healthy fats, and some meat and other protein sources can limit your inflammatory response and even help manage your arthritis. Foods arthritis sufferers should avoid include some meat and dairy, many grains, and most prepared and artificially preserved food for best results.