What foods make arthritis worse?

There’s no sure-fire diet that can cure your arthritis and the joint and hand pain that can come with it. But limiting some foods in your diet may help reduce inflammation and pain. If you take steps to understand what foods to steer clear of when you have arthritis, you may be able to find some relief to your arthritis inflammation and pain. To help protect your joints against inflammatory flare-ups and pain, avoid these arthritis-triggering types of foods.

Protect your joints against pain and inflammation by avoiding these arthritis trigger foods:

Refined Carbs and Sugars

High amounts of refined carbohydrates and sugars can set you up for increased inflammation. Cut out white-flour foods, sugar-laden sodas, candy and other non-whole grain carbohydrates to potentially help with your arthritis discomfort.

Processed and Fried Foods

Researchers in a 2009 study at Mount Sinai School of Medicine found that if you reduce the amount of processed and fried foods you eat, you might be able to reduce your body’s inflammation and even help in restoring its natural body defense mechanisms.

Foods Laden with Preservatives and Salt

Many types of food have excessive amounts of preservatives and salt. Excess consumption of these ingredients can play havoc on your body’s inflammatory response. In some cases, prepared meals have a lot of sodium and preservatives to increase taste and shelf life, respectively. Learn to read food labels to limit your intake of these types of additives.

Certain Oils and Fats

Some types of fats and oils, such as omega-3 fats, are heart-healthy. Others not so much. Consider replacing oils with omega-6 fatty acids and corn oils, with omega-3 fats. Good alternatives include flax seeds, oily fish, and walnuts, according to the Arthritis Foundation. Some research points to fish oil, which also is an omega-3 fatty acid, can help some people find joint pain relief. Some studies suggest that coconut oil may have anti-inflammatory properties, so you might consider exchanging that for another saturated fat, such as butter, when cooking, etc. and trans fats.

Tobacco and Alcohol

People who drink alcohol have an increased risk of developing gout, which is a type of arthritis. Similarly, smokers have a higher risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.


Some individuals may experience tissue irritation surrounding their joints when they consume proteins found in dairy. If this happens to you, consider obtaining your protein from nuts, lentils, quinoa, and beans, rather than dairy products.

The Takeaway

There’s no established and conclusive diet plan for arthritis. What helps one person’s arthritis, may not help another. You may need to conduct trial and error with specific foods to see what works best for you. All-in-all eating a balanced diet, maintaining a healthy body weight and participating in regular exercise is a good rule of thumb to follow.

If you are experiencing hand pain from arthritis and are looking for free hand screening and hand treatment, contact the Florida Hand Center today at 941-625-3782. We have locations in both Fort Myers and Port Charlotte for your convenience.