Anti-Inflammatory Diet May Help Arthritis

Foods to Eat and Foods to Avoid

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid. Permission: Dr. Weil

Controlling inflammation is essential if you have arthritis or another inflammatory disease. There are several ways to reduce inflammation. A combination of anti-inflammatory treatment and lifestyle change may be necessary. As an example, a combination of medication and diet may be more effective than either alone.

Following an anti-inflammatory diet has become increasingly popular. Basically, an anti-inflammatory diet focuses on foods to avoid that increase inflammation and foods to include in your diet that reduces inflammation.

The term "diet" tends to make us think of short-term weight loss diets, but that is not the purpose of an anti-inflammatory diet. While you may lose a bit of weight just from eating healthy, the purpose of an anti-inflammatory diet is to reduce inflammation.

Anti-Inflammatory Foods to Eat

Fruits (fresh or frozen; 3-4 servings per day) and vegetables (raw or cooked; 4-5 servings per day) - Raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, peaches, nectarines, oranges, grapefruit, red grapes, plums, pomegranates, blackberries, cherries, apples, and pears are excellent choices for fruit because they are antioxidant-rich foods and high in anthocyanidins.

Dark leafy greens, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, cauliflower, carrots, beets, onions, peas, squash, and raw salad greens are among the better choices for vegetables. Beta-carotene-rich foods are excellent choices too: sweet potato, carrots, kale, butternut squash, turnip greens, pumpkin, mustard greens, cantaloupe, sweet red pepper, and apricot, and spinach.

Foods rich in beta-cryptoxanthin should be included: winter squash, persimmons, papaya, tangerine, red peppers, and corn.

Beans and legumes (1-2 servings per day) - Good choices include Anasazi, adzuki, black, chickpeas, black-eyed peas, and lentils.

Pasta (2-3 servings per week) - Organic pasta, rice noodles, bean thread noodles, whole wheat and buckwheat noodles are good choices.

Whole and Cracked Grains (3-5 servings per day) - Brown rice, basmati rice, wild rice, buckwheat, barley, groats, quinoa, and steel-cut oats are excellent choices.

Healthy Fats (5-7 servings per day)- Nuts (particularly walnuts), avocados, seeds, omega-3 fats in cold water fish, and whole soy foods. Use extra virgin olive oil to cook.

Fish and Seafood (2-6 servings per week) - Salmon, herring, sardines, and black cod are excellent choices.

Whole Soy Foods (1-2 servings per day) - Tofu, tempeh, soymilk, edamame (immature soybeans in ​the pod), and soy nuts are good selections.

Cooked Asian Mushrooms - Unlimited quantities.

Spices - Use turmeric, curry powder, ginger, garlic, chili peppers, basil, cinnamon, rosemary, and thyme.

Selenium-Rich Foods - Brazil nuts, tuna, crab, oysters, tilapia, cod, shrimp, lean beef, turkey, wheat germ, whole grains.

Tea (2-4 cups per day) - White, green, and oolong are best. Also, drink abundant water throughout the day.

High-Quality Multivitamin and Supplements - Multivitamin, vitamin D, fish oil, and coQ10.

Red wine - 1-2 glasses per day maximum. Discuss with your doctor.

Sweets rarely - Best options include dried fruit (unsweetened), dark chocolate, fruit sorbet.

Foods to Avoid

Cut down on processed foods and fast food. Avoid a high-fat diet (trans fat, saturated fat). Avoid simple refined carbohydrates. Omega-3 fatty acids, as mentioned above, are healthy fats. Omega-6 fatty acids should be cut back in your diet.


Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid. Accessed October 23, 2013.

Fight Arthritis With These Foods. Joy Bauer. Accessed 10/21/2013.

Health Implications of High Dietary Omega-6 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids. Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism. Patterson E et al. April 5, 2012.

Anti-Inflammatory Eating Plan. Sharon Graham, R.N. JIREH Marketing, Inc. Copyright 2012.