Natural Allergy Testing and Treatment

Foods to Avoid for Arthritis


Can foods really be a trigger for arthritic conditions? Are there foods to avoid for arthritis?


The saying “We are what we eat..” holds a lot of truth…

Anything that adversely affects our digestion will impact our overall health, our immune system and the level of inflammation in the body.

A 1989 survey of more than a thousand arthritis patients is highlighted by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. It found a number of foods that consistently aggravated arthritis symptoms.

There have been many other studies that support their findings.

So What Foods to Avoid for Arthritis?

There is no one size fits all when it comes to foods, so some trial and error is required to discover what works for you. You may wish to avoid all of the following for at least 2 months then add them back in one at time, consuming each one for at least a week before adding the next one.

The following list is not in any particular order.


Any product that contains lactose OR casein (milk protein), so this includes milk, yoghurt, cheese, ice-cream, whey powder etc whether on its own or as an ingredient in prepared goods.


On their own or in baked goods

Wheat and Corn:

In fact the protein in all grains can be inflammatory for some people. You may wish to start with wheat / corn and then experiment with eliminating all grains (including rice, oats, buckwheat etc) for a period.

These are found in bread, pasta, baked goods, muffins, cookies, pastries etc, and also in many prepared sauces, marinades and ready meals, so read the labels or cook from scratch. 


Foods high in sugar can be obvious (white and brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, candy, sodas and pop) but it is also hidden in many foods.

Some examples are fruit, fruit juice and dried fruits (a slice of watermelon can contain the equivalent of 5 sugar cubes, click here to see..); apple sauce; sauces and marinades such as ketchup, teriyaki, BBQ; ready meals; beer, wine and cider; some milk alternatives e.g sweetened, chocolate or vanilla soy milk; and gluten free products which are generally highly processed.


The saturated fat in meat has been linked to arthritis. It may be the fat itself, or the fact that when fat is heated (grilled, fried, baked etc) it contains toxins called “advanced glycation end products” (AGEs), which trigger inflammation.

You may wish to remove all meat or just fatty meat from your diet. 100% grass fed and game meats are generally leaner than commercially produced meats. They also have not been fed on corn.

Night Shade Vegetables:

Tomato, bell pepper, eggplant and potato contain a chemical that is linked to inflammation.

Citrus fruits:

Orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit. For some these can trigger arthritic pain.


Both de-caff and regular coffee have been linked to increased inflammation in the body which can aggravate the symptoms of arthritis.


The alcohol itself triggers inflammation, however, wine in particular creates a lot of histamine in the body and will aggravate arthritis.

Omega 6 oils:

These are converted in the body into pro-inflammatory chemicals. The oils to avoid would include corn, peanut, sunflower, safflower, palm and soy oils. Canola oil is also best avoided as it has been linked to many health concerns. Check labels on ready meals, gluten free products, chips and crackers, dips (humus, baba ganoush etc), sauces, marinades etc and also on roast nuts and dried fruits.

And finally, where possible, choose organic produce that is in its natural state and not processed. Pesticides and herbicides have a detrimental effect on our gut health which in turn impacts our immune system and levels of inflammation in the body.

To find out more about foods to avoid for arthritis book with your Holistic Nutritionist, Naturopathic Doctor or Functional Medicine Practitioner.

An Allergy Test can also help to identify foods that cause inflammation for you.