According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 23% of adults in the United States have arthritis (
If you’re among the many people living with this condition, you may wonder whether there are any changes you can make to help alleviate some of the symptoms and improve your overall quality of life.
This article explores whether eating eggs affects the symptoms of arthritis.
Arthritis is a common condition that can cause inflammation, swelling, stiffness, and pain in various joints in the body. While there are more than 100 different types of arthritis, osteoarthritis and RA are the most common (
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition in which the cartilage in your joints changes over time, leading to pain and reduced mobility. RA is an autoimmune condition in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy joint cells (
According to the CDC, 8 million adults with arthritis feel that their ability to perform at work is negatively affected by the disease. To manage the symptoms, the CDC recommends staying active, maintaining a healthy weight, and discussing treatment options with your doctor (
Some doctors recommend nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or other prescription medications. Many people also find relief with massage, acupuncture, or cold and heat therapies.
Lastly, eating a diet high in antioxidants and low in inflammatory foods may also help relieve symptoms (
There are over 100 different types of arthritis, with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) being the most common. Some evidence suggests that dietary changes could help alleviate arthritis symptoms.
Whether eggs can worsen arthritis symptoms may depend on allergies or intolerances.
Eggs and inflammation
The arachidonic acid found in egg yolks can contribute to inflammation in the body. However, there’s currently no evidence to suggest that eliminating eggs from your diet will prevent arthritis development or improve its symptoms (
On the contrary, eggs have been shown to contain compounds that may have anti-inflammatory properties. For this reason, eating two eggs per week as a part of a well-balanced diet is recommended for most adults, including those with arthritis (
A study in 150 people, 50 of whom had RA, found that a Western diet high in refined grains, red meat, and processed food increased the risk of the condition, while a balanced diet including whole grains, eggs, fruits, and vegetables decreased the risk (
For years, eating eggs has been controversial, as they have both anti- and pro-inflammatory properties. Since arthritis involves joint inflammation, some people believe that eliminating foods with pro-inflammatory properties, such as eggs, may alleviate the symptoms (
Additionally, eggs contain cholesterol, a type of fat that can promote inflammation in the body. However, this is typically only seen in individuals with insulin resistance or other metabolic conditions (
Overall, specific research on eggs’ effects on inflammation and arthritis symptoms is limited.
Vegan and elimination diets
One review found that a vegan diet, which is free from eggs, improved arthritis symptoms. Another review observed positive effects of vegan, elemental, elimination, and Mediterranean diets among those with RA (
Note that while a vegan diet doesn’t contain eggs, the other mentioned diet types might. Thus, this research is inconclusive when it comes to eggs’ effects on arthritis symptoms (
If a person has an egg intolerance or allergy, research shows that they’ll likely experience an improvement in their arthritis symptoms by eliminating them from their diet (
However, if you don’t have an egg allergy or intolerance, there’s currently no research indicating a need to eliminate this nutritious food from your diet.
If you’re worried that eggs are contributing to your arthritis symptoms, you can always try cutting them out for a few weeks to months to see whether you notice any improvements.
Those with an egg allergy or intolerance may experience less inflammation and improved arthritis symptoms if they stop eating eggs. However, no specific research indicates that eating eggs will worsen your symptoms if you don’t have an egg allergy.
Eggs are nutrient-dense and offer several health benefits when enjoyed as a part of a well-balanced diet.
Eggs are full of nutrients, including protein, vitamin D, choline, omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and antioxidants (
One egg yolk contains 37 IU of vitamin D, which is 5% of the Daily Value (DV) (
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to RA, and early research indicates that the vitamin may help relieve symptoms of the condition if used as a supplement. If possible, buy eggs from pasture-raised chickens, as these eggs tend to contain more vitamin D (
Eggs also contain choline, a nutrient that plays an important role in brain health and may help protect against age-related memory decline (
Lastly, the protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants from eggs all have several health benefits that are outlined below.
May improve eye health
Eggs contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which are powerful antioxidants. Concentrated amounts of them are also found in the retina, which is the innermost part of your eye (
These antioxidants are often referred to as macular pigments because they’ve been shown to slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration, an eye condition that affects the retina and can cause blurry vision or vision loss (
May support weight management
Despite providing only around 70 calories each, eggs are filling. This is thanks to their protein content, a macronutrient that has been shown to help keep you full, especially when eaten with a healthy source of fiber like whole grains or vegetables (
Additionally, eating protein can boost your metabolism due to its high thermic effect, which is how much energy your body needs to digest and absorb food. Research shows that proteins often have a higher thermic effect than carbs and fats (
Eggs are nutrient-dense and boast several health benefits. For example, they support weight management, improve eye health, and reduce heart disease risk.
Those with an allergy or sensitivity to eggs tend to have an inflammatory response when consuming them, which can worsen their arthritis symptoms.
If you have arthritis and no known intolerance to eggs, there’s no need to avoid eating them regularly as a part of a well-balanced diet. They’re nutrient-dense and may help you manage your weight and reduce your risk of heart and eye diseases.
Just one thing
Try this today: Make a nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory breakfast. First, sauté chopped spinach with olive oil in a skillet or frying pan. Next, crack one or a few eggs on top, reduce the heat to low, and cover. Let the dish cook until the egg whites are cooked through and the yolk is cooked to your preferred consistency. Serve with a side of fresh fruit for an extra boost of antioxidants.