The 10 Best Foods to Eat for Arthritis

Eu Natural
May 21, 2018
Fact checked
Dr. Stephanie Nichols, ND

Most of us realize that our diet can make or break our health. When it comes to arthritis, a condition entirely based on inflammation issues, this couldn’t be truer.

Some foods are highly inflammatory and will make your pain and swelling much worse. Others are anti-inflammatory and can greatly improve your symptoms, which can literally change your life. I’m here with 10 of the best foods to eat for arthritis.

The 10 Best Foods to Eat for Arthritis

These foods focus primarily on two things: lowering inflammation and easing joint pain. But as you will see, some have compounds strong enough to actually help your body prevent the onset of arthritis or at least slow down its progression.

The 10 Best Foods to Eat for Arthritis

1. Fatty Fish

Fatty fish are filled with omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids are the ultimate inflammation fighters. You see, our bodies are supposed to have the proper balance of omega-6 and omega-3. Things like vegetable oil (found in almost all fast food and processed food) makes your omega-6 count too high – this leads to inflammation.

We can counteract that by decreasing our omega 6 intake and adding more omega-3s to our diet.

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Top fish choices include:

  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Herring
  • Mackerel
  • Sardines

The Arthritis Foundation recommends eating this type of fish at least twice a week. 

2. Berries

Berries for Arthritis

Berries are wonderful fruits because they are so low in sugar and so high in antioxidants – it’s a wonderful combo, especially for arthritis sufferers.

Antioxidants help rid of the body of all that excess inflammation that is plaguing your joints. While all berries are good choices, here are some of those with the highest antioxidant content:

  • Goji berries
  • Wild blueberries
  • Elderberries
  • Blackberries

3. Leafy Greens

Leafy greens are the go-to health food. Since they’re packed with countless vitamins and minerals, they are good for every single part of your body – and joints are no exception.

Greens are high in antioxidants – which we already know lowers inflammation. They also support bone health, which is helpful for anybody suffering from arthritis. Some of the top choices include:

  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Bok choy
  • Swiss chard

4. Good Oils

Avocado oil

We must get out of the old mindset that fat is bad for our health. While some types of fats (like trans fats) are indeed harmful, but many fats are crucial for a healthy life and healthy joints. Many oils are anti-inflammatory in nature.

Since you are going to be cutting out lots of “bad fats” to decrease inflammation (see the list of foods to avoid below), you are going to need other oil options for cooking and baking. Here are a few to include frequently:

  • Olive Oil
  • Avocado Oil
  • Coconut Oil

5. Cruciferous Veggies

Cruciferous vegetables are absolutely filled with so many important vitamins and minerals that aid in joint health. They are known to help suppress inflammation. They also have something called sulforaphane. Studies have shown this compound can actually prevent osteoarthritis (and slow its progression once you have it!)

Great choices are:

  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower

6. Garlic

Garlic is one of the world’s most incredible health boosters. We often eat it when we’re sick because it does an amazing job at supporting your immune system – which is exactly why it is so powerful in arthritis support. Inflammation is an immune system issue.

Consuming any food from the allium family (which includes garlic and onions) has been associated with lower odds for early osteoarthritis. One of the ways it does this is by limiting the enzymes that damage your cartilage.

Bonus: Download This 21-Day Inflammation Reset that will show you how to tackle your worst joint pain symptoms quickly.

While you can start being more intentional about adding garlic to your recipes, you can also enjoy it on its own. When you roast it, that pretty extreme pungent flavor melts into a much softer, tastier flavor. Here’s how:

7. Nuts

Nuts are anti-arthritis powerhouses. They are filled with important nutrients: like magnesium (which helps lower inflammation!) and calcium. They are also rich in those omega-3 fatty acids we talked about with fish.

Nuts are also good for your heart and cholesterol levels – two health conditions that tend to be worse in people with arthritis.

  • Walnuts
  • Almonds
  • Pine nuts
  • Pistachios

8. Bone Broth

If you’re not familiar with bone broth, don’t confuse it with stock (a liquid created from boiling meat). Bone broth is made by slowly boiling animal bones for long periods of time – often 48 hours. Why?

Bones have all sorts of incredible nutrients we cannot benefit from since we can’t eat them directly. When you boil them, you’ll get countless amino acids and minerals that are perfectly suited for reducing your inflammation and joint pain – like glucosamine.

Plus, bone broth is known for being a major gut healer. This is important because most of your immune system actually resides in your gut. And, as we know, chronic inflammation is ultimately an immune system problem.

Here’s an easy way to make bone broth in your crock pot (it couldn’t be easier!)

9. Beans

Beans are incredible sources of fiber. This is essential for anybody with arthritis. Fiber actually lowers the inflammatory markers in your body. Plus, the bean’s protein helps with muscle growth, an essential element to supporting your joints.

Some of the healthiest choices include:

  • Pinto beans
  • Kidney beans
  • Black beans

If you are someone who feels like red meat or processed meats increase your inflammation, replacing a few of your weekly meals with a bean-centered dish can be a great idea. To start you out, here’s a DIY burrito bowl recipe to try out from Oh She Glows. (P.S. it includes multiple items from this list!)

10. Cherries

cherries 680x400 1

Finally, we get to this deliciously tart fruit. Properties of cherries help reduce inflammation, which is important for all types of arthritis. But they also do something unique to one type of arthritis: gout.

Cherries can actually lower your body’s uric acid content, which will keep those painful gout flare-ups away.

Some people also find tart cherry juice to be beneficial (I like to add a splash to my morning smoothie), but if gout is a real concern for you – you may want to up your cherry game by taking an actual cherry extract. 

What Foods to Avoid for Arthritis:

Now that we’ve focused on 10 foods to eat for  arthritis, let’s take a moment to go over the foods you want to avoid. All of these can increase inflammation and joint pain.

  • Sugar
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Processed foods
  • Refined carbs
  • Hydrogenated oil
  • Saturated fats
  • Trans fats
  • Omega-6 fatty acids
  • MSG

If you have a food sensitivity or allergy, eating those foods will cause inflammation in your body too. That’s why it’s good for anyone with an inflammatory condition like arthritis to get allergy tested. You may need to cut out otherwise healthy foods like nuts or eggs.

Some people with inflammatory joint pain are sensitive to the alkaloids found in nightshade veggies. These alkaloids can be inflammatory. Nightshades include:



Bell peppers

Chili peppers

Egg plant

Healing Arthritis Through Diet

The foods we eat really play a significant role in our body feels. Anybody suffering from arthritis will notice a big difference even with small diet changes, but remember: it can’t stop there. You need to participate in other lifestyle choices that will keep your arthritis at bay, like:

  • Getting regular exercise (approved by your doctor)
  • Reducing your stress

These, together with your 10 foods to eat for arthritis, will allow you to start feeling relief – naturally.


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