What Foods Cause Arthritis Flare Up? 9 Foods to Avoid

With around 54 million adults and 300,000 children experiencing the effects of arthritis, taking a closer look at how to manage the pain has become more critical than ever. And while certain medications and even some exercises might help keep the discomfort (and annoyance) at bay, there are other ways to prevent flare-ups. Case in point: Many foods cause arthritis flare-ups.

Curious to know what foods to avoid for arthritis? We take a closer look at what foods cause arthritis flare up, ahead.

cooked New York Strip garnished

Red meat contains high levels of saturated fats, which can lead to arthritis flare up. | JPphoto1992/iStock/Getty Images

Red meat

No matter how you cook it, red meat can have a negative impact on arthritis. Thanks to high levels of saturated fats and advanced glycation end products (AGEs), red meat can lead to both high cholesterol and inflammation.

Fried foods

We hate to break it to you, but french fries, chicken tenders, and other types of fried food can have a detrimental impact on health. That is especially true when inflammation or arthritis flare-ups are concerned. These types of foods are often high in trans fats, which can lead to a spike in inflammation and, ultimately, cause arthritis to flare up.


Refined grains such as pasta can also trigger inflammation and cause arthritis to flare up. Because these types of grains can cause blood glucose levels to spike, the body might react with an arthritis flare-up.

Spaghetty pasta with meatballs

Pasta contains refined grains, which can cause arthritis to flare up. | iStock.com/Anna_Shepulova


Sugar should be avoided for many reasons, including inflammation and arthritis. Whether it’s natural or not, sugar can cause the body to release a type of protein called cytokine, which is linked to inflammation.

White bread

Another common source of refined grains to avoid? White bread. Like pasta, white bread contains refined grains that can cause a spike in inflammation and ultimately result in arthritis flare up.


Crackers are another type of food that cause arthritis to flare up. While not every type of cracker is made up of refined grains, a majority of them are. Similar to pasta and white bread, avoiding crackers can help prevent arthritis flare-ups.

Processed foods

Processed foods get a bad rap — and for a good reason. Not only are they linked to many common health ailments, but they can also cause inflammation and arthritis to flare up. Because of that, it is best to avoid processed foods, including deli meat and packaged meals and snacks.

High-fat dairy products

Dairy can have a significant impact on health — and not in a good way. Because many dairy products are high in saturated fat, they can cause a spike in inflammation. As a result, arthritis might flare up from eating foods such as cheese, butter, cream cheese, mayonnaise, and other types of high-fat dairy products.

Peanut, sunflower, safflower, corn, and soy oils

Omega-6 fatty acids can have a positive impact on health, but in some cases, too much of a good thing can be bad. Case in point: Peanut, sunflower, safflower, corn, and soy oils all contain high traces of omega-6 fatty acids that, if too much is consumed, can cause arthritis to flare up. Instead, reach for oils rich in omega-3, such as olive, canola, and flaxseed oil.

Check out The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!