Foods that help and hurt arthritis pain

Some days may be more painful than others. It may be dependant on the food you eat. Aside from exercising in the right way, eating the right foods can help — or hurt — you as well.

Here are five foods that can help arthritis pain and five foods that can make it worse:

HELPFUL FOODS

Here are five foods that help arthritis pain:

1. Fatty fish

Foods that decrease inflammation are best at fighting arthritis pain. Fatty fish are packed with inflammation-fighting omega-3 fatty acids. It’s recommended that 3 to 4 ounces of fish, twice a week, will help with the pain. Omega-3-rich fish include salmon, tuna, mackerel and herring.

2. Soy

If you do not like fish, then consider eating tofu or edamame. These foods are rich in soy and omega-3 fatty acids. These foods are low in fat, high in protein, and high in fiber.

3. Ginger

Research on animals (less on humans) to show that ginger helps decrease inflammation.  Foods from the allium family – such as garlic, onions, and leeks – showed fewer signs of early osteoarthritis (OA).

4. Broccoli

Broccoli may have the ability to reduce inflammation. It also contains sulforaphane, which may have anti-inflammatory properties. This is not confirmed and more research needs to be done to prove this.

5. Garlic

Not only does garlic poses cancer-fighting properties, but it can also decrease inflammation. Some test subjects showed that eating garlic may decrease the chances of getting osteoarthritis.

Foods that can make arthritis worse

In the same way that eating foods that decrease inflammation, foods that increase inflammation can cause pain.

Here are five foods that can make arthritis pain worse:

1. Salt and preservatives

bad foods for arthritis

Already-prepared foods or microwave meals are convenient but usually full of salt and preservatives. Avoid these foods by cooking at home or looking for items with less salt and preservatives.

2. Fried and processed foods

Fried foods increase inflammation and are not healthy for the body. Avoid these foods by eating more fruits and vegetables instead.

3. Sugars and refined carbs

Excess sugar is not good for you — especially when you have arthritis. Avoid consuming sodas, candies, and added sugar in foods. Instead, find tasty fruit or dark chocolate to substitute the craving.

4. Dairy products

There’s conflicting research done in relation to dairy products. Some patients experience less pain when avoiding dairy products, but this may not be best for everyone who wants to supplement protein to their diet. Instead, eat spinach, nut butters, tofu, beans, lentils, and quinoa that are full of protein.

5. Alcohol and tobacco

People who drink alcohol are at a higher risk of gout, and those who smoke are at a higher risk of rheumatoid arthritis. Try to avoid these at all costs because both can bring about complications and further health problems.


Arthritis Consultants of East Tennessee specializes in rheumatologic care, which is the practice of assessing joints, muscles, and bones for pain, swelling, stiffness, and deformity. Contact us or call 865-503-2001 today to find out how we can help you get your life back on track.

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