Foods To Avoid When You Have Arthritis

Arthritis is inflammation in the joint that causes pain or stiffness. It is a larger term used to describe multiple conditions (osteoarthritis, gout, rheumatoid arthritis, or psoriatic arthritis) that affect the joint itself or the tissues around the joint.

The amount of inflammation you have is affected by many factors such as diet, activity level, hydration, illness, smoking, and alcohol intake.

Diets high in fat, sugar, refined grains, and salt have been associated with increased inflammation and can affect arthritis symptoms. Read on to learn foods and drinks to avoid when you have arthritis and simple changes that could help to reduce the amount of inflammation in your body.

Red Meat

Red meats are higher in fat white meats or plant-based protein. Research studies have associated red meat intake with increased levels of inflammation, which can worsen swelling in the joints and arthritis symptoms.

High-Fat Dairy and Cheese

In general, avoid full-fat dairy and products with added sugar when you have arthritis because research associated a high-fat diet with being pro-inflammatory.


Salt is an important mineral in the diet, but when too much is consumed, it can be harmful to multiple areas of health. Research has associated high salt intake with increased inflammatory response, and another study showed an increased risk for developing rheumatoid arthritis.

Processed Foods

Highly processed foods such as frozen meals, lunch meat, baked goods, fast food, and packaged snacks are all often made with ingredients that increase inflammation.

Sugar-Sweetened Beverages

Soda, fruit juices, sweet tea, and other sweetened drinks have a large amount of sugar in them. It’s recommended to limit total added sugar intake to at most 9 teaspoons of sugar per day and a 12-ounce can of soda has about 36 grams of sugar, over 8 teaspoons. A study found that low to moderate intake of sweetened beverages promoted inflammation.