When you’ve been diagnosed with arthritis, it’s important not to cut out foods from your diet unless there’s good reason. ‘Too many people cut out whole food groups without finding substitutes and run the risk of other health problems down the line,’ says HFG expert and GP Dr Dawn Harper.
Common ingredients that come under fire include:
Dairy, veg and ‘nightshade foods’
‘People with arthritis are often advised to avoid foods that might aggravate inflammation. This includes dairy products and vegetables from the nightshade family such as tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and aubergines,’ says HFG nutrition consultant Juliette Kellow.
‘But there’s little scientific evidence to support this. If anything, people with arthritis should eat dairy more regularly to ensure a good intake of calcium and other bone health nutrients.’
It’s often recommended that sufferers avoid acidic foods such as lemons, limes and other citrus fruit. But again, there’s no proof that this will help to ease arthritis symptoms.
‘It’s not a good idea to avoid any fruit or vegetable unnecessarily. They provide a spectrum of vitamins and minerals for general good health,’ explains Juliette. ‘Plus, these fruits are low in calories and fat so they’re useful for helping us control our weight.’
Foods containing oxalic acid
Despite the myth, rhubarb, spinach, asparagus, parsley and foods containing oxalic acid will not aggravate arthritis symptoms.
But if you think certain foods are making your arthritis worse, keep a food and symptoms diary. If a pattern emerges, ask to be referred to a registered dietitian. They will help to devise a balanced diet plan that excludes any aggravating foods.