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There is no special "diet for arthritis"; however, it is important that people with this condition eat a well-balanced diet and control their weight. A well-balanced diet includes fruits, vegetables, grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products. People with arthritis should also limit alcohol intake; exercise regularly; and limit foods with saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt, and added sugars.

Is There a Special Arthritis Diet?

Many people with arthritis wonder if there is a special diet that can help slow down the progression of, or even cure, the disease. For most types of arthritis, the short answer to this question is no. There are no foods or combinations of foods that have been shown in clinical studies to improve arthritis. However, there are also no foods that have been shown in clinical studies to make arthritis worse.
There are a couple of exceptions to this. One exception is gout (also known as gouty arthritis). For people with gout, diet can play a role in causing an attack because foods high in purines will increase the amount of uric acid the body makes (see Gout Risk Factors). Therefore, the primary diet for gouty arthritis that is recommended for such people is a low-purine diet. Also, eating more low-fat dairy products, which are low in purines, has been shown to decrease the chances of having a gout attack. (see Gout Diet for more information).
Another exception may be with rheumatoid arthritis. In people with this condition, certain oils can decrease rheumatoid arthritis symptoms (see Rheumatoid Arthritis Diet).
With regard to the remaining arthritis types, the American College of Rheumatology states, "Until more data are available, patients should continue to follow balanced and healthy diets, be skeptical of 'miraculous' claims and avoid elimination diets and fad nutritional practices."
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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