6 Foods to Avoid If You Have Arthritis or Joint Pain

Inflammatory foods can increase joint pain severity (Image via Unsplash/Nino Liverani)
Inflammatory foods can increase joint pain severity. (Image via Unsplash/Nino Liverani)

Arthritis and joint pain are the consequences of inflammation. It's characterized by stiffness and difficulty while performing normal activities.

Arthritis can be of the following types: osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis. Among the four, osteoarthritis is non-inflammatory in nature. The remaining ones are inflammatory.

Rheumatoid and psoriatic types are autoimmune disorders. Gout can also be considered among the inflammatory types of joint pain.


Eliminating foods that cause inflammation might be beneficial in reducing the pain experienced in these conditions. In this article, we will discuss the foods to avoid when experiencing inflammatory joint pain.

How to Reduce Inflammation in Arthritis and Joint Pain?

Research conducted by The Harvard School of Public Health have associated the following foods with increased inflammation in the body: alcohol, deep-fried foods in seed oils, sausages, burger patties, sweetened beverages like soft drinks, soda, juice drinks, iced tea, refined carbs like white bread, pasta, and rice.

To reduce joint pain, it's advisable to exclude these foods from the diet and consider healthier options.

Ginger oil can be used to relieve joint pain in inflammatory conditions.

Check out the health benefits of using ginger oil here.

Also read: Can exercise reduce inflammation?

Foods to Avoid in Arthritis and Joint Pain

The following foods cause inflammation in the body. They can trigger the release of inflammatory molecules . The six worst foods for joint pain are:

1) Seed Oils

Seed oils, including soybean oil, sunflower oil, rice bran oil, palm oil, palm olein oil, canola oil, and cottonseed oil are used in cooking and industrial processing around the globe.

They're rich in Omega-6 fatty acids. These fatty acids get oxidized easily while cooking and when inside the body. Oxidized omega-6 fatty acids cause inflammation in the body. That can increase joint pain and discomfort.

These fatty acids can be replaced with fats such as butter, which does not cause inflammation. Butter is among the high-fat foods that are super healthy. Olive oil does not oxidize easily and can be considered a safer option.

You can check out whether turmeric helps with inflammation.

2) Sugary beverages

Soda, juice drinks, iced tea, and other instant beverages often contain added sugars.

Research published in the journal Nutrition and Dietetics indicates that high-fructose corn syrup present in sweetened beverages, including soft drinks, fruit drinks, and juices, can exacerbate the symptoms of these conditions.

3) Refined carbs

White bread, pasta, and rice contain refined grains that are high in simple carbs. These foods release sugar instantly into the body whenever consumed.

Highly processed foods are made from refined carbs in most cases. They might also contain oxidized molecules that can increase inflammation in the body.

Check out the seven best anti-inflammatory foods for weight loss.

4) Processed meats

Sausage, salamis, bacon, and burger patty are common processed meats consumed around the world.

A survey conducted by Brigham and Women's Hospital, Division of Rheumatology, Immunology, and Allergy, among people with RA, tried to understand how diet determines the course of chronic inflammatory joint conditions. It found that processed meat might be behind increased levels of inflammation in most people.

5) Fried foods

Fried foods, including French fries, nuggets, and ready-to-cook snacks are often fried in seed oils. They're also pre-processed using seed oils. These foods often get oxidized while frying and absorb the seed oils.

It's advisable to avoid such foods when suffering from joint pain or other chronic inflammatory conditions. Research published in the journal Clinical Rheumatology has associated such foods with inflammation and cardiovascular risks.

Check out the list of five anti-inflammatory foods you should be eating.

6) Alcohol

Alcohol intake can cause inflammation in the body and hamper its natural healing process. The exact mechanism is being studied to find out how alcohol affects the joints directly.

Research published in the American Journal of Medicine has indicated that alcohol cam increase the severity of gout attacks and similar inflammatory conditions. The study also found that the quantity and type of alcohol can play a significant role in inflammation.



Food habits can play a significant role in chronic inflammatory conditions in the joints. Avoiding these foods can provide relief. It's advisable to seek medical advice in case of severe pain.

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Edited by Bhargav