Can My Diet Improve Arthritis?

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Ask the experts

Are there any particular foods which should be included or excluded from the diet of an individual suffering from arthritis?

Doctor's response

First, there are many forms of arthritis, each of which differ in the do's and don'ts of diet. So, the answer is that it depends to some degree on the form of arthritis.

People with gouty arthritis should tend to avoid red meats, shellfish, alcohol, fructose (such as from corn syrup in soft drinks, etc.), and dehydration. At the same time, dairy products such as lowfat milk and yogurt, as well as adequate hydration, and cherries are encouraged in people with gout.

People with inflammatory arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, may benefit by taking the omega-3 fatty acids that are in the oils of fish, particularly salmon. Sometimes minimizing salt intake can reduce swelling in the tissues of the hands and feet that can aggravate inflammatory arthritis.

Both people with psoriatic arthritis and osteoarthritis can benefit from vitamin D supplementation. Those with osteoarthritis also might benefit from the food supplement glucosamine.

It is worth noting that none of the dietary recommendations or supplementations have been proven to stop the progression of any of the forms of arthritis.

Medically reviewed by Robert Bargar, MD; Board Certification in Public Health & General Preventive Medicine


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Reviewed on 7/10/2017