Arthritis: Five foods to avoid which can worsen arthritis pain and symptoms

Arthritis affects over 10 million people in the UK. The two most common types are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. There is no cure for arthritis, but taking certain medications and supplements, and improving your diet can improve symptoms. If you have arthritis, it may be beneficial to cut down on foods containing inflammatory properties, as they may make symptoms worse. Here are five common foods which can cause inflammation, according to the Arthritis Foundation, which you may want to avoid if you have arthritis:


Processed sugars, found in chocolate bars, soft drinks and desserts, trigger the release of peptides called cytokines, which can cause inflammation.

Saturated and trans fats

Saturated fats trigger fat tissue inflammation, which worsens arthritis inflammation. Trans fats trigger systemic inflammation.

Saturated fat is found in meat and dairy products, while trans fats are found in fast food, processed food and baked goods.

Omega 6 fatty acids

Omega 6 fatty acids are an essential fatty acid that the body needs for normal growth and development.

However, excessive consumption can trigger the body to produce pro-inflammatory chemicals.

“The body needs a healthy balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids,” advises the Arthritis Foundation. This is because omega 3 can help to reduce inflammation.

Omega 6 is found in oils such as corn, sunflower, grapeseed, soy, peanut and vegetable, as well as in mayonnaise and many salad dressings. Omega 3 is found in oily fish and nuts.

Refined carbohydrates

Refined carbs includes products made out of white flour, like white bread, white rice and white potatoes.

These types of food fuel the production of advanced glycation end (AGE) products that stimulate inflammation.


MSG is a food additive most commonly found in prepared Asian food and soy sauce, but it can also be added to fast foods, prepared soups and soup mixes, salad dressings and deli meats.

This chemical can trigger two important pathways of chronic inflammation.

“Cutting back on foods that promote inflammation, increasing the proportion of fruits and vegetables in your diet, making fish your main protein and getting more omega 3s can make a big difference in your arthritis symptoms,” said the Arthritis Foundation.


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