Joint Pain - Arthritis

Evidence about diet and arthritis :

People with gout may find that avoiding certain foods, in combination with gout medication, may prevent a gout attack. 

However, there’s no substantial scientific evidence that other forms of arthritis can be improved or alleviated by avoiding particular foods.

There is no conclusive evidence that the following foods trigger or aggravate the symptoms associated with arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions:

  • 1.  Acidic foods – such as lemons, oranges and tomatoes 
  • 2.  ‘Nightshade’ foods – such as tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and eggplants
  • 3.  Dairy foods.

These foods all contain important nutrients and avoiding them may cause other health problems. 

People who have an intolerance to certain foods have found that excluding them from their diet can make them feel better overall. However, it’s unclear how this affects arthritis symptoms. If you’re thinking of excluding foods from your diet, speak with a dietitian to make sure you’re not eliminating important nutrients. 

Tips for managing your diet if you have arthritis

Tips for managing your diet if you have arthritis include:
  • 1.  Eat a well-balanced diet to get all the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other nutrients you need
  • 2.  Include a variety of fruit and vegetables, protein foods, dairy, nuts, pulses, cereals and grains. This will help to maintain general good health and a healthy weight
  • 3.  Include plenty of omega-3 fatty acids in your diet, such as oily fish, linseeds, canola oil, walnuts or foods that are fortified with omega-3s (for example, eggs or margarine)
  • 4.  Drink plenty of water
  • 5.  Include adequate dietary calcium to reduce the risk of osteoporosis in later life
  • 6.  Keep your weight within your target range – excess bodyweight increases stress on joints, especially weight-bearing joints like knees and hips
  • 7.  Keep a food diary – if you think a particular food may aggravate your condition, it can help to keep a diary of your food intake and symptoms. After a month, you may have some idea about which food could be provoking symptoms. Discuss these results with your doctor or a dietitian
  • 8.  Don’t cut whole food groups from your diet – for example all dairy products – without talking to your doctor, as you may miss out on important vitamins and minerals
  • 9.  Be aware – the symptoms of arthritis, particularly the inflammatory types, can change for no apparent reason. Don’t assume any improvement in your symptoms is due to what you eat or changes in your diet. Be guided by your health professional
  • 10.  Seek advice – if you need help, talk with your doctor or a dietitian. There’s a lot of conflicting information online and in the media about arthritis and diet. If you need some guidance, talk with a professional.
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