Tomatoes and 8 Other Food Myths About Arthritis

Eliminating Tomatoes and Other Food Myths About Arthritis

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  • Food and Arthritis

    Food and Arthritis

    Half of American adults will experience arthritis in their lifetimes according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The disease has no known cure, but there are plenty of opinions about what may help ease symptoms.

    Does milk cause more pain? Are lemons off the safelist? Can sprinkling salt in your shoes draw moisture from your bones?

    Read through the slideshow to learn more about arthritis food myths, and what to eat to feel your best.

  • Tomatoes


    Pity the poor tomato. Long thought poisonous, it’s often maligned for making arthritis worse. However, no relationship between arthritis pain and tomatoes—or any of its cousins, like potato and eggplant—has been found.

    So how did this myth get started? The leaves of these plants may be poisonous. As for the potato, a green cast under the skin may contain dangerous toxins and should be avoided.

  • Citrus


    Ask your doctor which medicines you shouldn’t take if you enjoy grapefruit, as this healthy breakfast staple interacts with certain drugs. Other than that, no evidence links citrus fruits with a danger to arthritis patients.

    In fact, the vitamin C found in citrus may actually help. It may cause your body to make collagen, a necessary component of healthy bones.   

  • Vinegar


    Some proponents claim that drinking vinegar reduces arthritis pain and disease progression by changing the pH of your blood. This simply isn’t the case. Any food or drink you consume is balanced to the right pH by your digestive system by the time it hits your stomach.

    Don’t avoid vinegar altogether, just save them for salads. They help you keep a balanced weight and give you healthy energy.

  • Gin-Soaked Raisins

    Gin-Soaked Raisins

    Raisins soaked in gin may make your arthritis symptoms go away—but only until the effects of the alcohol wear off! There is no evidence that raisins soaked in gin or any other alcohol-food combination will make your arthritis better.

    Contrarily, too much alcohol can impair your immune system and your good sense, leaving you vulnerable to illness and causing you to move in ways that could make your arthritis worse. If your arthritis is complicated by gout, drinking red wine could worsen the pain.

  • Dairy


    Some people believe that avoiding dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese will reduce arthritis symptoms. This idea comes from the belief that many people suffer from lactose intolerance, meaning their bodies don’t absorb dairy properly.

    Any condition that interferes with absorption prevents your body from getting necessary nutrients, which can impair your immune system. However, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), most people can consume small amounts of dairy products without symptoms. The bottom line? Dairy can be part of a healthy diet if you have arthritis.

  • Gelatin


    Gelatin gives you gelatinous joints? This food myth probably comes from the outdated (and incorrect) thinking that the physical qualities in a food will translate in helpful ways to the body.

    Wiggly gelatin won’t make stiff joints more wobbly. Gelatin makes no difference in arthritis pain. If you don’t care for it, avoid it. If it’s a favorite, go ahead and indulge.

  • Salt In Your Shoes

    Salt In Your Shoes

    Many people say their arthritis feels worse when weather is rainy or humid. That’s where the old wives’ tale that sprinkling salt in your shoes will eliminate arthritis pain originates.

    The thinking is that salt, which naturally draws moisture to itself, will draw moisture from the body and relieve swelling in joints. Too bad it’s not that simple. There’s no medical reason to sport high-sodium heels.

  • Fasting


    There’s no shortage of information on fasting and its supposed health benefits. Nor is there any proof that fasting will help cure arthritis or relieve the pain of swollen joints.

    Maintaining a healthy weight will relieve pressure from arthritic joints. However, there are healthier ways than fasting to achieve this.

  • Omega-3


    Here’s one arthritis food remedy with substantial evidence to support its effectiveness. Omega-3 fatty acids—found in oily fish like salmon, and tree nuts, flax, and other foods—may help to reduce arthritis pain.

    Omega-3s also have been shown to improve mood, a boost if you have arthritis and suffer from depression.

  • What Really Helps

    What Really Helps

    The most consistent evidence connecting arthritis relief and diet is simple:

    • Eat a balanced diet.
    • Eat more fresh foods than processed foods.
    • Make sure the calories you consume deliver as much nutrition as possible (that means no junk!).
    • Maintain a healthy weight.

    Diets high in fiber that are rich in raw fruits and vegetables and include lean proteins like fish and chicken are your best bet for feeling good.