20 Apr Does your diet affect your arthritis symptoms?
Arthritis is an inflammatory disorder that causes swelling and tenderness in one or more of your joints. The main symptoms of arthritis are joint pain, swelling, stiffness and a decreased range of motion, all of which tends to worsen with age. The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
While there is no special diet or miracle food than can cure arthritis or any other musculoskeletal conditions, we can all benefit from eating a healthy, well-balanced diet. Being overweight or obese arthritis patient can aggravate your arthritis symptoms because of the “extra load” being placed on your joints. Eating healthy can help you to maintain a body weight that will ease the pressure placed on your joints.
Our bodies function optimally when we eat a variety of healthy food as we are getting more of the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other nutriments that we require. Eating healthy, well-balanced meals and drinking a sufficient amount of fluids will help to improve your energy levels, maintain your weight and improve your overall wellbeing, which in turn can help to improve the severity of your arthritis symptoms.
The following diets tips can help you manage your arthritis symptoms:
- Eating a variety of fruit and vegetables, proteins, dairy, nuts, cereals and grains, and drinking plenty of water may help to maintain general good health and a healthy weight. Make sure to include omega 3 fatty acids into your diet as well.
- Taking calcium supplements can reduce the risk or delay the onset of osteoporosis in later life.
- Keep your weight within your target range as excess bodyweight enhances stress on your joints.
- Do not cut out whole food groups from your diet (e.g., dairy) without talking to your doctor, as you may reduce your intake of vital vitamins and minerals.
- Keeping a food diary will help you track what are aggravating your symptoms. Speak to your doctor or dietitian once you’ve established a pattern or identified foods that are provoking your symptoms.
- Be aware of the conflicting information online about arthritis and diets for arthritis patients. As mentioned earlier, there is no miracle food or cure for arthritis. Always speak to your doctor or dietitian to get the most accurate advice.
The best foods to eat if you have arthritis include:
- Fatty fish, that are high in omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin D which can reduce inflammation and the severity of arthritis symptoms. Try adding salmon, sardines, mackerel and trout to your diet.
- Garlic is known to have an anti-inflammatory effect that may help decrease symptoms of arthritis.
- Ginger, besides being a great source of flavour, can also help to ease arthritis symptoms. Some studies have shown that ginger helps to block the substances that promote inflammation in the body.
- Broccoli is one of the healthiest foods that you could eat as it contains sulforaphane which may help to reduce the symptoms of arthritis.
- Walnuts are nutrient-dense and loaded with compounds that may help reduce the inflammation associated with joint disease.
- Berries contain a lot of antioxidants, minerals and vitamins, thus making them great for your overall health and to help decrease inflammation. A study has shown that quercetin (a plant pigment found in berries) has medicinal properties that may block some of the inflammatory processes associated with arthritis. Strawberries, blackberries and blueberries can be a fun and tasty addition your diet.
- Leafy greens such as spinach are full of nutrients, and some of their components may also help to decrease inflammation caused by arthritis. Spinach is especially high in kaempferol, an antioxidant which has been shown to decrease the effects of the inflammatory agents associated with rheumatoid arthritis.
- Grapes are nutrient-dense, high in antioxidants and possess anti-inflammatory Grapes also contain several compounds that have been shown to be beneficial in the treatment of arthritis.
Tart cherry juice is an increasingly popular beverage that offers a wide array of nutrients and health benefits. Studies have shown that tart cherry juice significantly decreased symptoms of osteoarthritis and reduced inflammation.
Betterhealth.vic.gov.au. 2018. Arthritis and diet – Better Health Channel. [online] Available at:
Link, R., 2017. The 10 Best Foods to Eat If You Have Arthritis. [online] Healthline. Available at:
Mayo Clinic. 2019. Arthritis – Symptoms and causes. [online] Available at: