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Which Foods Aggravate Arthritis? Fruits and Foods You Should Avoid When You Have Arthritis and Why You Should Avoid Them

Updated on March 20, 2018
Healthyannie profile image

I love health and passionately believe we should do more to look after our health. Natural remedies are as effective as conventional ones. N

Fruits to avoid if you suffer from arthritis
Fruits to avoid if you suffer from arthritis | Source

Can You Cure Arthritis with Diet?

Can arthritis be cured naturally? Yes, it can but you will need to make dietary changes.

There are at least 200 different kinds of arthritis but the most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis can even be a sign of a food allergy, pinpointing the cause can be difficult but the most common culprits are dairy products, refined cereals, certain meats like beef and pork, eggs and some fruits can cause a real problem when it comes to arthritis.

Can you reverse arthritis with diet? More and more evidence is emerging that we can reverse arthritis with the right diet. A diet rich in plant-based foods will help, but a high intake of oily fish is also important.

A knee joint affected by osteoarthritis
A knee joint affected by osteoarthritis | Source

What are purines and why do they cause such as problem?

It is generally known many arthritis sufferers have a diet which is rich in purines. But, what are purines?

Purines are naturally found in the body, and all foods, but some foods are richer in purines than others. A purine is a natural substance found in all our cells and when a cell dies the purine in a cell is broken down, and metabolized into uric acid.

Uric acid is normally not a problem, it is, in fact, an essential antioxidant which helps to protect our blood vessels. It only causes a problem when it is present in excessive quantities. Excessive uric acid can lead to the formation of uric acid crystals which can be deposited in joints and tendons. Some of the time these crystals can cause gout, but it is now also widely recognized they can lead to arthritis. Sometimes uric acid crystals are also known as monosodium urate crystals.

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Fruits Rich in Purines

It is not only meat which is rich in purines. Doctors often fail to tell their patients many fruits are high in purines. It is very common for doctors to recommend to a patient with arthritis that he or she increases their intake of fruit but this can cause just as much of a problem as eating an excessive amount of red meats.

Unfortunately, some of these fruits are the fruits which we are more likely to increase an intake of when are told to include more fruits in our diet.

Citrus Fruits

All citrus fruits can make arthritis and rheumatism worse
All citrus fruits can make arthritis and rheumatism worse | Source

Citrus Fruits and Arthritis

Citrus fruits

All citrus fruits are rich in purines. Citrus fruits include lemons, mandarins, oranges, clementines, grapefruits and the smaller blood orange. This group of fruits contains the most purines of all, yet it is the fruits we normally consume the most of in the form of juice.On the positive side, oranges are an excellent source of vitamin C, thiamine and folate. It also contains high levels of pectin which can lower the blood cholesterol level. Almost all arthritis sufferers who are recommended to stop drinking orange juice, or eating fruits from this group, notice a rapid improvement in their condition. If you suffer from osteoarthritis, you are certainly like to notice an improvement in your condition when you give up citrus fruits.

Apples Can By High in Purines

Apples can make arthritis worse
Apples can make arthritis worse | Source

Apples and Arthritis

Apples straight from the tree are not as high in purines as stored apples. Apples in a supermarket have often been stored in a cool environment where the oxygen has been chemically lowered. Although this halts the maturing process of the fruit, it still allows for more purines to build up within the fruit. An apple straight from the tree is much more nutrient-rich than an apple which has been stored in an artificial environment.

Apple juice is often made from older apples, or perhaps slightly damaged fruit, which increases the levels of purines even more.

Arthritis and Food

When you have osteoarthritis you should eat plenty of the following foods:

  • Wholegrain cereals for osteoarthritis
  • Stick to fruits high in antioxidants and bioflavonoids
  • Take a vitamin E supplement if you have rheumatoid arthritis
  • Add nuts, especially walnuts, to your diet.
  • Sardines, salmon, cod, and halibut are all great fish to add to your diet

Cut down on the following foods:

  • Fatty oil
  • Red Meats such as beef and pork
  • Acid fruit and vegetables

Pineapple - is it good or bad for you?

Only the core of the pineapple contains bromelain - it is better to take a supplement
Only the core of the pineapple contains bromelain - it is better to take a supplement | Source


Pineapples are also very acidic and can cause allergies. They are high in purines which can cause a problem when it comes to treating arthritis. Ironically, they are also rich in the enzyme Bromelain which has been scientifically proven to help and aid arthritis sufferers. You would have to eat a lot of pineapples to get the benefit of Bromelain. Taking a supplement is a much better choice.

Pineapples are a useful source of vitamin C, but are not rich in any other vitamins so it is better avoided as the acidic content of this fruit can cause a lot of problems including gum problems.

Kiwi fruits are often rich in purines
Kiwi fruits are often rich in purines | Source

Kiwi Fruits

Kiwi fruits are popular foods in today’s modern diet. Once again, this is a fruit which is rich in vitamin C and often recommended by doctors to help prevent or control arthritis. So why does it cause a problem? Whilst kiwi fruits are rich in vitamin C, they are also packed with sugar. The sugar content of a kiwi fruit is around 10 percent which is very high. Both sugar and excess acid can cause a flare up of the most common forms of arthritis.

Kiwi fruits are rich in purines. They are transported long distances to reach your local supermarket. During transportation, they will start to break down and this causes the amount of purines in the fruit to increase.

White Grapes

Avoid white grapes if you suffer arthritis
Avoid white grapes if you suffer arthritis | Source

White Grapes

If you enjoy eating grapes by all means continue, but stick to the red and black grapes which are quite different from white grapes. White grapes are incredibly rich in sugar and they are also highly acidic, and should be avoided at all cost.

Red and black grapes are an excellent alternative as they are rich in potassium and also high in bioflavonoids. Bioflavonoids are antioxidants which can help to lower the level of antioxidants in the body, and this will help to fight of anti-inflammatory disease.

Top Tips For Easing Arthritis Symptoms

Avoid acidic fruit
Fish Oil
Limit red meat
Eat plenty of grains
Flax Seed

Celery fights Arthritis

Celery can ease the symptoms of arthritis
Celery can ease the symptoms of arthritis | Source

Celery Juice Recipes

Each recipe makes about 8 fl oz of juice, and adults can drink up to two glasses daily.

Recipe One

3 stalks Celery

1/4 Cucumber

Recipe Two

3 Stalks Celery

1 Carrot

Helpful Foods for Arthritis

When you start looking around, you will find many foods which can help in the treatment of arthritis, and most of them can be found in your local supermarket. The myth of super foods can be put to bed when it comes to the treatment of most diseases, and this is certainly true with arthritis.

Six Helpful Foods for Arthritis

Salmon – salmon and other oily fish are rich in Omega 3 and should be added to the diet about three times per week. Other oily fish are mackerel, herring, tuna, and anchovy.

Greens – vegetables greens such as chard and kale are both excellent sources of beta-carotene, calcium, folate, iron and vitamin C. Eat raw or freshly steamed.

Bananas – bananas provide and an excellent source of potassium, fiber and vitamin C. Try to include a banana in your diet every day.

Broccoli – Broccoli is a member of the cruciferous vegetable family. All cruciferous vegetables are rich in vitamin C, beta-carotene, folate, iron, and potassium try to include vegetables from cruciferous family every day. Eat them raw or steam them.

Carrots – carrots are an excellent source of beta-carotene which reduces inflammation. Eat raw or steamed, and enjoy carrots as often as you can.

Celery – celery helps to cleanse the blood of purines and is also rich in potassium, eat raw as often as you can.

Yoga for Arthritis

Regular Exercise and Arthritis

Regular exercise can help to prevent joint pain. Try to add in gentle exercises such as swimming or walking.

Other exercises such as yoga and tai-chi can help as but always make sure you don’t push yourself too much.

Supplements and Arthritis

Supplements make great alternatives to anti-inflammatory drugs. and when you suffer any form of arthritis, you should learn more about supplements for arthritis. For instance, fish oils have been scientifically proven to treat both arthritis and rheumatism.

Cold water fish contain Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids which are known to have an effect on the joints of arthritis sufferers but if you have a problem finding good quality fish you can try taking a fish oil supplement. Many sufferers claim supplements such as fish oil are more effective than eating fish.

© 2014 Annie Messeri


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    • profile image

      pattib12345 2 years ago

      Very interesting article, never expected the information shared concerning apples.

      Seems multiple comorbidities makes any one recommendation completely correct or resolving it because of so many contradictions with that of another diseases restrictions too.

      Wish all of these suggestions compared to multiple diseases..something like the Rx apps can do. Do you know of sites/apps that can do that for foods allowed & those not allowed when diseases are probably contradicting each others recommendations or restrictions? That would be great !!!!

      ie : Psoriatic Arthritis, Cardiac issues-Heart Attack, 7 Stents, IBS,Gastrointestinal Issues, Migranes, OsteoArthritis, Genetic AutoImmune Disease CVID, Hypothyroidosm, Potassium issue, Major Depression,COPD....etc in my case.

      This aging process has left us all trying to treat and manage the Rx's needed, there contradictions & proactively seek the natural common sense foods, allowed or not vs. those adverse interactions in that area too. Just when I think I've come up with the right information I'm left confused or in conflict again. Really search worthy, but exhausting.

      Most physicians prefer you pick your most disabling health issues and make that the priority or leading direction (pick your poison concept).

      Im trying to do that "naturally" by beginning with the basics but I can see those conflicts with Rx's also arise with the more natural, basic, everyday, common sense solutions too. These basics are rarely discussed by the Drs. especially now since Doctors are leaving private practices to join Group Medical practices who allow an allotted amount of time to each patient... which they really don't like either. "Time is Money", more patients per hour is the concept now. Leaving us that are computer savvy to our own devices, seeking information to trim our efforts fighting health costs & clear medical direction.

      Politics & Medical Care are our next concern basically placing blogs like yours even so,so,so much more valuable to the patients out there...Really :)

      I'm not alone in this and wish it wasn't up to the patient to seek this knowledge while chronically ill. A real whirlwind at best, more so because we're sick and chronically sick at that.

      If you know of an app that includes that information too I'd be so grateful

      Thanks for a great article !

      If you want I can be contacted at

    • Healthyannie profile image

      Annie Messeri 3 years ago from Spain

      There are many easy and smart ways you can combat arthritis.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 3 years ago from london

      Great article. I like the anti inflamatories and I think your input on greens are an excellent idea.

    • Healthyannie profile image

      Annie Messeri 3 years ago from Spain

      Thank you Maggie, I hope your mom finds it useful.

    • Maggie.L profile image

      Maggie.L 3 years ago from UK

      Hi Healthyannie, Really useful article here which I'll be sending to my mum. She suffers from arthritis and this information will be really useful to her. Thanks!

    • Healthyannie profile image

      Annie Messeri 3 years ago from Spain

      I know some doctors that will tell you but doctors also like to line their pockets. I used to work for a pharmaceutical company so I know exactly what goes on - this is all about the dollar bill. Sadly I know many of the modern drugs inside and out but statins make me growl. We actually need cholesterol to live, and you can guarantee if you suffered from jaundice as a child, even very slight, you may suffer from higher cholesterol levels in later life. Why? Your liver works differently but of course we can help our livers to help themselves.

      The silly thing is we treat ourselves with drugs because many of drugs we have taken make us ill. ( Omeprazol is a prime example) I suffer from IBS which I picked up after an encounter with Mrs Salmonella. Nothing to do with Mrs Salmonella but everything to do with the lengthy antibiotic treatment afterwards. My little dog has Colitis which he only developed after being treated with too strong antibiotics.

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 3 years ago from West By God

      Healthyannie isn't it so pathetic that we have to do our own research in all this because a Doctor will NOT tell you?

    • Healthyannie profile image

      Annie Messeri 3 years ago from Spain

      Omeprazole is not for acid reflux, it was developed to control side effects of medication such as statins and pain killers. How is your liver?

      I really need to know what you are taking and what conditions you suffer from, if you are on heart medication such as statins. Please email me and I will get back to you.

    • Healthyannie profile image

      Annie Messeri 3 years ago from Spain

      Omeprazol by Sandoz 20 mg can cause some nasty side effects such as shaking and nerve damages. What are you taking to need to take this?

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 3 years ago from West By God

      jupiter90 Do not take Omeprazole!!! It messes with your system. I know I used to take that daily and had lots of skin problems until I switched to Laprazole (sp). the OTC of Prevacid. A whole lot less side effects than the other.

    • jupiter90 profile image

      jupiter90 3 years ago

      Nice article, healthyannie. I remember being told that oranges were bad for arthritis; but, I never knew this applied to all citrus fruits. I actually thought that pineapple was good for arthritis. It's really a shame how doctors neglect to tell their patients crucial medical information.

      I have a health question that is not directly related to your article. I suffer from severe acid reflux which causes me to have dry heaves. My condition is so bad it literally interferes with my daily life. All my doctor can offer me is Omeprazole (proton-pump inhibitor) to prevent new acid from forming. Are there any foods or supplements you can recommend? Or if you published any hubs on acid reflux, could you send me a link? Thank you. Keep up the good work.

    • Healthyannie profile image

      Annie Messeri 3 years ago from Spain

      And I eat apples because my IBS but I need an apple a day to manage the condition. Have you tried baked apples with a bit of cinnamon? I find that really helps my IBS.

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 3 years ago from West By God

      Thanks for this article. I voted up. I am glad to know about some of these. I eat apples because of my Ulcerative Colitis but not lots of them. One maybe once in a while. I had no idea about the citrus fruit.