If so, avoid nightshade foods.
These include tobacco, eggplant, bell peppers, tomatoes, and white potatoes. Nightshade (family: Solanaceae) foods have been linked to an increase in arthritis symptoms. In one study, 70% of those with arthritis reported relief from chronic pain over a period of seven years after eliminating all nightshade foods. Between 20% and 30% of my patients on this regimen experience moderate to dramatic pain relief. They typically report less pain overall but especially in their hands, feet, knees, and ankles.
Nightshade vegetables are not the only foods that are thought to be inflammatory. Foods that are high in omega-6 fatty acids from animal products such as red meat may increase inflammation, along with fatty and fried foods that contain trans-fats. Refined sugars and white flour as well as foods such as high-sugar sodas, snack foods and baked goods, may cause inflammatory problems for some people. Still others may be intolerant of dairy or grain products, which may increase mucus production and gastrointestinal problems as well as contributing to inflammation within the body. As with the nightshade vegetables, a dietitian may assist you with an elimination diet that does not compromise nutrition.
Omega-3 fatty acids, which are present in cold-water fish such as tuna, halibut and salmon, are thought to be anti-inflammatory. Other healthy fats such as olive oil may also help to reduce inflammation and replace unhealthy fats in the diet. A diet that is higher in vegetables such as broccoli and spinach, along with fruits such as citrus and berries, may provide high levels of antioxidants, which are thought to be protective for age- and inflammation-related damage of the joints and may help reduce the symptoms of arthritis.