Should You Avoid Certain Foods if You Have Arthritis?

Medically Reviewed

Q: Is it true that people with osteoarthritis should avoid nightshade vegetables, such as peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, and potatoes?

A: No dietary regimen has ever been shown to alleviate or prevent osteoarthritis—except for a diet that helps you lose weight, if you’re overweight.

There are claims about countless dietary regimens—from avoiding fruits and vegetables in the nightshade family, meat, dairy products, cooked or processed foods, or wheat, to eating large amounts of garlic, alfalfa, wheat germ oil, or molasses. Anecdotal success stories are plentiful.

The problem is that osteoarthritis on its own gets better, then worse, then better again. It can’t be cured, only managed. As such, it naturally inspires home remedies. Anything can seem like a miracle cure at some point. That’s the insidious part of it—and why arthritis is such a fertile field for marketers.

Vegetables and fruits in the nightshade family, especially peppers and tomatoes, are rich in nutrients, fiber, and other potentially beneficial compounds. Don’t give them up.

Learn more about how osteoarthritis damages joints and how to treat it.