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Foods That May Be Aggravating Your Arthritis

Though there are different forms of arthritis, the one many people’s minds first go to when hearing the word is rheumatoid arthritis, which is the type that causes aching joints. More specifically, “rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a systemic, debilitating, chronic inflammatory autoimmune disorder affecting approximately 1% of the world population. RA is a form of arthritis that causes pain, swelling, stiffness, and loss of function in joints,” [2]. Although pharmaceutical options are available to help lessen the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, it’s also good to know what foods to avoid that could possibly be making your symptoms worse.

According to the Arthritis Foundation, any foods or drinks containing processed sugar, saturated or trans fats, omega-6 fatty acids, refined carbohydrates, monosodium glutamate (MSG), gluten and casein, aspartame (an artificial sweetener found in diet sodas), and alcohol could make you have arthritis flare-ups due to their inflammatory properties [1]. Of course, it is hard to cut out all of these foods 100%, and omega-6 fatty acids are still important for your health and should not be avoided completely, but they should be eaten in a balanced manner [1].

In summation, any inflammatory foods or drinks, for example, soda (diet and regular), cheese, fried foods, processed snacks, bread, or white rice, should either be avoided (if possible, and if your body reacts well to cutting them out completely), or consumed minimally to try to help keep arthritis symptoms from getting worse. Along with medicine, a diet lessening the intake of these foods may prove to help make living with arthritis easier and less painful. If you’re up for it and get your doctor’s approval, try focusing more on cutting out these foods for a while to see if you even need medicine to tame arthritis symptoms. Whatever you choose to do, make sure you are listening to your body and paying close attention to how it reacts to any changes in your diet or to your arthritis treatment.


  1. 8 food ingredients that can cause inflammation - arthritis foundation. Arthritis Foundation. (n.d.).

  2. Bustamante, M. F., Agustín-Perez, M., Cedola, F., Coras, R., Narasimhan, R., Golshan, S., & Guma, M. (2020, January 21). Design of an anti-inflammatory diet (ITIS diet) for patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Contemporary Clinical Trials Communications.



Author: Lauryn Agron

Editor: Kayjah Taylor

Health scientist: Bhagya Arikala

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