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7 Foods And Beverages To Avoid If You Have Arthritis

August 8, 2022

Beyond tenderness, weakness and stiffness are the more severe symptoms of arthritis. This includes the grueling pain that lingers and makes even the simplest movement a chore and challenge.

Arthritis is one of the leading disabilities in the country, affecting roughly 3.6 millions Aussies, based on a 2018 self-report data from the ABS National Health Survey.

If you have been in this ‘joint’ battle for a period of time, chances are you are already familiar with the foods that help ease arthritis pain.

If you are yet to decode the foods and beverages that trigger or aggravate arthritis symptoms, read on for some aha moment.


1. Alcohol


Alcohol has been widely researched for both its positive and negative effects on a wide range of ailments. However, with arthritis, it seems like there is only a unidirectional relationship.

Whatever your alcohol of choice is, drinking to excess can make your arthritis worse. Alcoholic beverages, with its inflammatory effects, can exacerbate both degenerative joint pain (osteoarthritis) and autoimmune and inflammatory disease such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Chronic alcohol assumption may also elevate the frequency and severity of gout attacks. If even moderate drinking comes with upshots, experts suggest giving up the habit completely.


2. Red meats


A study in 25, 630 people found that high red meat intake may be a risk factor for inflammatory arthritis. Red meat may increase your levels of inflammatory markers interleukin-6 (IL-6), C-reactive protein (CRP), and homocysteine. With regular and heavy consumption, red meat can result in high cholesterol, obesity and inflammation. Examples of red meat include lamb, veal, pork and beef.


3. Processed foods


Ultra processed foods are typically loaded with added sugar, preservatives and refined grains than whole foods. These potentially inflammatory ingredients can contribute to arthritis joint inflammation and worsen your symptoms.


4. Gluten-containing foods


Gluten — a group of proteins found in wheat, barley rye and triticale — have a high profile as an inflammatory ingredient found in many foods such as bread, pasta cereals and baked goods. Many research links a gluten-rich diet to inflammation and arthritis symptoms.

Conversely, a gluten-free, vegan diet is associated with reduced disease activity and improved inflammation. People who have rheumatoid arthritis specifically are found to benefit from a gluten-free diet to manage flare-ups.


5. Certain oils


As enjoined by the Arthritis Foundation, people with the condition should limit their consumption of foods rich in Omega-6 fatty acids. This includes certain oils like corn, safflower, sunflower and vegetable oil. According to studies, the interaction and imbalance ratio of  Omega-6 to Omega-3 may be to blame as the former inhibits the anti-inflammatory effects of the latter.


6. Salty foods


Research found a significant association between total sodium intake and autoimmune diseases like inflammatory arthritis. Certain medications for arthritis can also cause the body to retain sodium. Experts suggest limiting salty, sodium-rich foods to 1,500 milligrams per day to lessen likelihood of repercussion.


7. Sugary foods


It’s no secret. Sugar can trigger arthritis. Particularly in excess, sugar can cause the body to produce more cytokines. People with arthritis already have high levels of these inflammatory proteins so producing more of these can only make your symptoms worse.

A 2017 survey on 217 people with rheumatoid arthritis  found that 12.4 percent respondents blamed desserts as a primary culprit for their arthritis flares.



Pain is an inevitable part of living but it should not be our default state. If you have arthritis, make your diet your ally and not your enemy. Remember that whatever you put inside your body can affect how you feel.


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