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  • Writer's pictureDr. Karuturi Subrahmanyam

Joint Problems - What Food to Eat and What Food Not to Eat?

If you have joint problems, such as arthritis, gout, or osteoarthritis, you may wonder how your diet affects your condition. Some foods may help reduce inflammation and pain in your joints, while others may trigger or worsen them. Here are some general guidelines on what food to eat and what food not to eat if you have joint problems.

What food to eat

Some foods contain nutrients that may help lower inflammation and improve joint health. These include:

  • Fatty fish. Fatty fish varieties such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, and trout are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to have potent anti-inflammatory effects. Omega-3 fatty acids can also help decrease joint pain intensity, morning stiffness, and the number of painful joints. Fatty fish is also a good source of vitamin D, which can help prevent deficiency and may be associated with lower arthritis symptoms. The Arthritis Foundation recommends including a 100gms serving of fish two to four times a week.

  • Garlic. Garlic is packed with health benefits. Supplementing with garlic has been shown to have an anti-inflammatory effect that may help decrease symptoms of arthritis. Garlic can also help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, which may benefit your heart health. You can take garlic supplements or add whole garlic to your diet.

  • Ginger. Ginger is another spice that has anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger can help ease the symptoms of arthritis by inhibiting the production of inflammatory molecules. Ginger can also help with nausea, digestion, and blood sugar control. You can add ginger to your teas, soups, and sweets, or take ginger supplements.

  • Berries. Berries are rich in antioxidants, which can help protect your cells from damage and inflammation. Berries also contain vitamin C, which is important for collagen synthesis and joint health. Berries can also help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and improve blood sugar control. You can enjoy a variety of berries, such as blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries.

  • Leafy greens. Leafy greens are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that can help fight inflammation and oxidative stress. Leafy greens also contain fiber, which can help lower cholesterol levels and improve gut health. Leafy greens can also provide calcium, magnesium, and vitamin K, which are essential for bone health. You can eat leafy greens raw or cooked, such as spinach, kale, lettuce, arugula, and cabbage.

What food not to eat

Some foods may increase inflammation and aggravate your joint problems. These include:

  • Sugars and refined grains. Sugars and refined grains, including white rice, pasta, and white bread, are the worst food culprits when it comes to reducing or relieving joint inflammation. They can spike your blood sugar levels and trigger the production of inflammatory chemicals called cytokines. They can also contribute to weight gain and obesity, which can put more stress on your joints.

  • Processed meats. Processed meats, such as bacon, ham, sausage, and hot dogs, are high in saturated fat, salt, and additives that can worsen inflammation and joint pain. Processed meats can also increase your risk of heart disease and cancer.

  • Fried foods. Fried foods are high in calories, fat, and trans fat that can cause inflammation and oxidative stress in your body. Fried foods can also lower the levels of antioxidants in your blood and impair your immune system function,

  • Alcohol. Alcohol can interfere with your body’s ability to fight inflammation and heal itself. Alcohol can also dehydrate you and cause gout attacks by increasing the levels of uric acid in your blood.

  • Certain vegetables. Some vegetables may cause problems for people with joint problems because they contain compounds called purines that can increase the levels of uric acid in your blood. High uric acid levels can cause gout attacks or worsen arthritis symptoms. These vegetables include asparagus, mushrooms, spinach, cauliflower, and peas.


If you have joint problems, you may benefit from eating a balanced diet that includes anti-inflammatory foods such as fatty fish, garlic, ginger, berries, and leafy greens. You may want to avoid or limit foods that increase inflammation such as sugars, refined grains, processed meats, fried foods, alcohol, and certain vegetables. However, remember that everyone is different and what works for one person may not work for another. You may need to experiment with different foods and see how they affect your joints. You may also want to consult with your doctor before making any major changes to your diet.

Dr. Karuturi Subrahmanyam, MD, FRCP (London), FACP (USA)

Internal Medicine Specialist

Kify Hospital



Phone : 85000 23456


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