Are There Foods to Avoid When You Have Osteoarthritis?

Are There Foods to Avoid as Part of a Diet for Osteoarthritis?

While there are no foods that people with osteoarthritis need to avoid, you may believe that certain foods seem to worsen your osteoarthritis symptoms.
Following is a list of foods that are commonly reported to make symptoms worse in some people with osteoarthritis:
  • The nightshade family of plants (including white potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers)
  • Dairy products
  • Citrus fruits
  • Acidic foods
  • Sweets
  • Coffee
  • Animal protein.
What should you do if you think certain foods are making your symptoms worse? The first thing you should do is keep a food diary. After a month, you may have some idea about which food could be provoking symptoms. You could then try eliminating that food from your diet for two weeks to see what happens. Don't cut out a whole food category, and make sure you are getting the vitamins and minerals that this food provides from other sources. It is also important to let your healthcare provider know that you are doing this.
You may be wondering, "Why not just cut out the food and see if my symptoms get better?" It may be tempting to conclude that arthritis pain gets better or worse because of what was added or eliminated from the diet the day or week before. However, gout is the only type of arthritis known to be helped by avoiding certain foods. The unpredictable ups and downs of arthritis make it hard to establish a relationship between diet and disease. Osteoarthritis research scientists have only recently begun to study nutritional therapy for this condition.
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