Foods That Cause Arthritis Flare-Ups

Updated April 17, 2017

Anyone suffering from arthritis is always on the lookout for any tips that will help alleviate and prevent their symptoms. Swelling and pain are common factors that are part of our everyday lives. Members of the medical community have long agreed that diet plays an important role in the management of arthritis symptoms. Knowing the foods that cause arthritis flare-ups can help those of us suffering with the disease to prevent some of our pain.

Is There a Food Connection?

According to Deborah Cooper of, a website dedicated to helping people with medical issues find solutions to better manage their symptoms while living with illness, "Foods such as potatoes, tomatoes and eggplant, sometimes referred to as "nightshade foods," could be the cause of stiff joints, pain and inflammation."

Cooper goes on to say that while many doctors doubt the connection between food and arthritis symptoms, many others refer to studies supporting the theory.

The Dairy Trigger followed numerous studies that share the conclusion that foods that trigger arthritis pain and swelling include dairy, While dairy products are considered a major culprit, the studies also warn against other foods, including corn, red meat, oats, wheat, rye, citrus fruits, eggs, potatoes and nuts.

High Fat Diets has reported on a study of rheumatoid arthritis patients fed a low-fat vegan diet. The patients participating in the study reported afterwards that they had noticeable relief from their arthritis symptoms.

Alkaline Diet

According to the medical website, many experts recommend the alkaline diet. This diet excludes acids, which are said to trigger arthritis symptoms. This diet doesn't allow sugar, coffee, red meat or acidic fruits.


Some food sources will be harder to avoid than others. Gluten is an example of this. reports that many people find that they have improvement in their symptoms when gluten is eliminated from their diet. Gluten is found in wheat, rye, barley and oats. The difficulty is that gluten is included as an ingredient in such a huge variety of food products that it can be hard to avoid. No one would expect to find gluten in their ice cream, but it is often used as a binding ingredient.

The good news is that as public attention has grown about this issue, there is a wide variety of gluten-free products now available at every local supermarket. Also, many commonly used products now feature a clear banner on their packaging proclaiming that it is a gluten-free product. Still, those wishing to eliminate gluten completely from their diet must become proficient at reading product labels.

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About the Author

Based in Connecticut, Vicki Holmes has been writing for 15 years and has a B.A. in English from The King's College. Drawing on her 20 years as a software trainer, she has authored ten software training manuals. Holmes, as an advocate/patient for sufferers of autoimmune illnesses, frequently writes about health-related topics.