Top 3 Foods to Avoid If You Have Osteoarthritis

While the connection between diet and joint health is still being explored, many patients can tell you from personal experience that their osteoarthritis symptoms are often affected by what they eat. 

Osteoarthritis develops as the body’s cartilage breaks down. Since cartilage allows the bones in the joint to move without friction, loss of cartilage can cause pain, inflammation, stiffness, and swelling. Therefore, most osteoarthritis treatments focus on reducing inflammation and pain.

Certain foods can lower inflammation. Eating well can improve tissue health and increase the amount of synovial fluid in your joints, supporting ease of movement. By reducing or eliminating foods that can increase inflammation in the body, you can take a holistic approach to managing your osteoarthritis symptoms.


Excess sugar is closely tied to activating the body’s inflammatory response. Many people with high levels of sugar consumption experience chronic, low-grade inflammation. They are also at risk for several other health concerns, including weight gain and obesity, which aggravate osteoarthritis.

By monitoring your sugar consumption and reducing or eliminating foods and beverages high in sugar, such as soda, juices, candy, baked goods, and condiments like ketchup or barbeque sauce, you can reduce inflammation and alleviate some of your osteoarthritis symptoms.


The human body requires salt to maintain the correct balance of water and minerals, contract and relax the muscles, and control nerve impulses. But excessive salt consumption can cause cells to hold onto too much water, leading to an inflammatory response.

Many processed and prepared foods are very high in sodium. The first step in reducing salt consumption is limiting processed foods and closely monitoring the nutrition labels on prepackaged foods. Even some foods thought to be healthy, such as soups, can contain up to 40% of your recommended daily value of sodium in one serving. 

When monitoring labels, search for products with 5% or less of your daily value of sodium. Any product with 20% or more is too high.

Saturated and Trans Fats

Diets high in saturated and trans fats are associated with high levels of inflammation, systemic inflammation, and increased LDL (“bad cholesterol”) levels. 

Foods high in trans fats and saturated fats include butter, full-fat dairy products, fried foods, fast food, and processed meats. 

What to Eat Instead?

Follow a diet of whole foods, prioritizing fruits and vegetables and grilled or roasted lean meats. Avoid soda and sugary juice; instead, drink beverages like tea and water. Eating well can dramatically reduce osteoarthritis symptoms and allow you to enjoy less pain and better mobility.

This post was written by a medical professional at Stemedix Inc. At Stemedix we provide access to Regenerative Medicine for osteoarthritis, also known as stem cell therapy for Osteoarthritis. Regenerative medicine has the natural potential to help improve symptoms sometimes lost from the progression of many conditions.