Natural remedies for
rheumatoid arthritis, 
osteo- and psoriatic arthritis...

Worst and best foods for arthritis

How to use food
to reduce inflammation and pain

Natural remedies for rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, or psoriatic arthritis start with food.

Use food to reduce the inflammation and pain of arthritis © Karen Alison

The foods you eat will either cause more inflammation and pain every single day of your life or they will help you to heal and feel better.

First, the bad news…

Any food that you react badly to can cause inflammation.

You may want to be professionally tested for food intolerances or sensitivities – even if you think you don’t have allergies. Not everyone has medically-recognized allergies, but you can still have food reactions.

The worst food culprits are...

  • Gluten, wheat and other grains – Heavily implicated in arthritis, auto-immune conditons and many other chronic health problems. More about this below.
Milk and dairy products are the top food allergen and increase inflammation © Karen Alison
  • Milk and dairy foods – The top food allergen. Casein, a milk protein, increases leaky gut syndrome and inflammation.
  • Processed foods and junk food – In addition to stealing vitamins and minerals from your body, these foods typically contain chemicals that increase inflammation.
  • Sugar – Nightmare. Robs your body of all the nutrients it needs to stay in homeostasis (balance) and prevent inflammation.
  • Nightshades – Long known to cause bone and joint problems. Includes potatoes, tomatoes, green peppers, red peppers, eggplant, paprika, and tobacco.
  • Legumes – Like grains and dairy, contribute to leaky gut.

Everyone in my family with arthritis vehemently has denied having any food intolerances, yet they all had the classic symptoms of gluten and dairy sensitivity. Believe me, I know from experience that life is SO much better once you stop eating the foods that cause problems and pain.

Gluten and arthritis...

Even "healthy" whole grains
are making you sick!

Gluten and grains are at the top of the list of problem foods for people with arthritis and psoriasis.

Research from Alessio Fasano MD shows that gluten stimulates the release of zonulin in the gut. Zonulin is a human protein that opens gaps between cells of the intestinal walls, allowing molecules to escape into other parts of the body and trigger inflammatory and autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis; even cancer.

Dr. James Braly says that, “Researchers are reporting the occurrence of celiac disease over five times more frequently among people with rheumatoid arthritis… More remarkably, about half of the patients with rheumatoid arthritis show clear signs of gluten sensitivity…”

You don’t have to have celiac disease to be gluten-sensitive. An unusually high percentage of adult and juvenile RA sufferers have problems with gluten. Dr. Braly also points out that non-celiac psoriasis patients improved on a gluten-free diet and worsened when they went off it.

Gluten is found in wheat flour cookies and damages your gut © Karen Alison

Gluten is found in wheat, rye, oats, barley, kamut, spelt, and any of their products such as bulgur, couscous, semolina, farina, beer, bran, dextrins, TVP, stock cubes, soba noodles, groats, malt, triticum, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, wheat germ, and so forth. It really doesn't matter whether you are eating top quality whole grains - if they contain gluten, they are damaging your gut.

Dr. Braly goes on to say that, after a few months on a gluten-free diet, people with arthritis often have no more need for pain relief medication since their pain levels drop significantly or vanish completely!

He cites the case of a rheumatoid arthritis sufferer named Lucille, who was scheduled for hip replacement surgery. In researching Crohn’s Disease for her mother, she discovered the gluten-free diet. Lucille decided to try it herself and had life-changing results.

Not only was she able to go off all her medications, but she no longer needed the hip replacement! (Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your medications.)

Auto-immunity and leaky gut syndrome

One of the big problems with wheat and other grains is that they contain proteins that make gaps open in the walls of your intestines. Casein, a milk protein in dairy products, does the same.

This is called leaky gut syndrome. Toxic microbes and molecules of food that are supposed to stay inside your gut leak out into your bloodstream. They look like invaders to your immune system, so antibodies race to the scene to start the removal process. This generates the auto-immune response, inflammation and allergic reactions.

But it gets worse.

The microbes that escape through your gut wall can migrate to your joints, causing synovial inflammation © Karen Alison

The microbes that escape through your gut wall can migrate to your joints or anywhere else in your body. Some of those microbes end up in your synovial fluid (the fluid around your joints that floats them so they don’t rub together) and causes synovial inflammation. More pain.

So, obviously, one of your best natural remedies for rheumatoid arthritis – or any other arthritis – is to heal your gut and keep those fecal molecules where they belong.

How do you do that? A good place to start is with a gluten-free or Paleo diet.

Foods that are natural remedies
for rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis
and psoriatic arthritis

The foods that are the best home remedies for arthritis are whole, organically-grown foods. No junk, no sugar, no refined carbohydrates.

The easiest way to eat foods that help heal your gut and reduce inflammation is with the Paleo diet.

I think of it as one of the best natural remedies for rheumatoid arthritis, other types of arthritis, and other chronic health problems. It’s also the simplest way to go gluten-free.

On the Paleo diet, you eat REAL foods like organic, untreated nuts © Karen Alison

The beauty of the Paleo diet is that you only eat REAL food, like meat, chicken, fish, healthy fats, vegetables, nuts, seeds and a little fruit.

That gives you a full range of nutrients while you avoid the many chemical toxins, sugars and anti-nutrients in processed and junk “foods” that disrupt your gut flora and cause leaky gut syndrome.

Learn more about leaky gut syndrome and how to stop it.

What are the best foods for arthritis?

Start here…

So where should you start? Changing your foods to make them into natural remedies for rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis can be a bit of a challenge at first – until you get used to a new way of doing things that supports your health instead of promoting inflammation and leaky gut.

1. Junk the inflammation-causing foods

Go through your kitchen and toss out or give away everything that contains wheat, grains, white flour, sugar, poor quality vegetable oils, dairy and chemical preservatives. Get rid of processed foods, legumes, and white potatoes and other nightshades that increase inflammation.

2. Instead, here are your healthy choices…

  • Shop from the meat, poultry, fish, vegetable and fruit sections of your grocery store. Free-range and organically-grown are preferable to avoid the chemicals in conventionally raised foods.
Eat lots of dark leafy, nutrient-rich greens like organic kale © Karen Alison
  • Eat lots of dark, leafy, calcium-rich greens. Vegetables like kale and chard can be boiled for 10 minutes to release the oxalic acid and make their calcium bio-available. Drain well and serve tossed with olive oil, lemon and garlic.
  • Invest in some high quality fish oil, flax oil and extra virgin olive oil.
  • Buy untreated nuts and seeds for snacks (unless you are allergic to nuts.)
  • Have some organic sweet potatoes, carrots and squash on hand for carbs.
  • Use sea salt or Himalayan salt for added minerals.
Natural remedies for rheumatoid arthritis. Organic turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties for arthritis.
  • Organic turmeric, cinnamon, parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme provide flavour, nutrients and anti-inflammatory or other benefits (all culinary herbs and spices have medicinal properties.)
  • Add ground flax seeds to soups, salads, and smoothies for healthy fiber and anti-inflammatory benefits.
  • Make delicious bone broths from chicken, beef, or lamb bones, or whole fish. When cooking the broth, throw in a couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to draw the calcium out of the bones and into the soup. Bone broth is one of those old-fashioned natural remedies for rheumatoid arthritis that works because it contains collagen which helps to reduce joint pain and swelling.

3. Eating out

If you eat out often, order grilled or baked poultry, meat or fish – not battered or deep fried – with vegetables (not potato) and a big salad. Ask for olive oil and lemon for the dressing because many salad dressings contain sugar and dairy – which won’t help your inflammation. Skip dessert or have fruit without sugar on it.

If you’re going to a friend’s for dinner, let them know you have food restrictions for health reasons. I’ve found that people are quite willing to adapt the meal as necessary, especially when I make it easy for them by offering to bring a dish.

It gets worse before it gets better…

Going off grains and refined carbohydrates isn’t easy, even though it is one of your best natural remedies for rheumatoid and other forms of arthritis.

Why is it hard?

Grains in bread contain opioids - naturally addictive substances © Karen Alison

Because grains contains opioids – naturally addictive substances that fit into the same receptors in your brain where drugs like heroin would fit. So when you stop eating them you may have withdrawal symptoms for a week or two.

And when you’re used to eating white flour and sugar and other high carbohydrate foods, your body can experience some carb withdrawal initially.

Be prepared with healthy carbs like baked sweet potatoes and winter squash. Don’t go too crazy with fruit – all that fructose can be hard on your liver while you’re clearing out other toxins.

Eating a bit of protein with fat every 2 or 3 hours during the first few days will help to keep your blood sugar balanced and reduce cravings for the wrong foods. Try a handful of nuts or some nut butter on apple slices or celery sticks, a hard-boiled egg or devilled egg made with olive oil or home-made mayonnaise, a few bites of chicken or other meat (but avoid deli meats that contain sugar and nitrates.)

When I went off grains, I had withdrawal symptoms for 2 or 3 weeks – depression, headache, no energy… But the good part was that, once that was over, I felt a hundred times better than I ever had before. Food has an astonishingly powerful effect on your brain and emotions as well as your joints!

If only I’d known about these natural remedies for rheumatoid arthritis when my mum was alive, things might have turned out quite differently for her.

The wrong foods don’t just cause
gut problems!

Foods that are nutrient-poor, sugary and full of chemicals lead to the formation of free radicals in your body. Free radicals cause damage to your tissues which triggers inflammation. The inflammation triggers more free radicals which trigger more inflammation. And so on. One bad thing leads to another. Altogether, too much inflammation.

So you’ll want to do everything you can to avoid forming those free radicals. Or neutralize them.


Blueberries and raspberries are full of healing antioxidants © Karen Alison

By including lots of different leafy green and orange vegetables, herbs, spices, and some dark-coloured fruit like blueberries and cherries in your diet. They are full of anti-oxidants – the enemy of free radicals. At the same time, you’ll be healing your gut walls.

Natural remedies for rheumatoid arthritis
for your mind,
while you’re improving your food…

When you improve your foods, one thing that will really get in your way is if you think like this: “Do I really have to give up my favourite foods? I love cookies/pasta/cheese/whatever…” 

The reality is, you might think you love those foods but they’re really just a habit. And they don’t love you back.

Try this on for size: Think of yourself as a powerful person who is choosing to make fantastic changes that will have big health benefits. Focus on the positive outcome of how great you’re going to feel.

Another big problem when changing how you eat is that – at least if you live in the western world – our entire social life is oriented around sugar. Birthday cake, coffee and dessert, holiday cookies, Valentine’s chocolates, Christmas candy, wedding cake and so forth. If you don’t want to eat sweets, you’re almost made to feel as if something is wrong with you!

But you’re not the problem. The real problem is that we’ve learned to associate sugar with love and celebration. The reality is… love is love. Sugar is sugar. There is no law of the universe that says you have to participate in festivities by eating sweets. (And sugar is definitely NOT anybody’s natural cure for arthritis.)

EFT Tapping helps with resistance to change and relief of physical symptoms © Karen Alison

Use EFT Tapping to help yourself get through the challenges. You can tap on your own resistance to change, relief of physical symptoms, stress, fear of what people will think, and just about anything that’s bothering you.

When you use natural remedies for rheumatoid arthritis – or any type of arthritis – it’s just as important to work with your mind and attitudes as your body.

Related Articles

7 Natural Anti-inflammatories for arthritis. These anti-inflammatories are natural remedies for rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, providing powerful relief of symptoms.

Leaky gut syndrome – Is this what’s causing your arthritis and inflammation? Understand leaky gut and how to fix it to stop arthritis symptoms.

What is the Paleo Diet? The Paleo Diet is an easy and delicious way to go gluten-free and avoid inflammatory toxins that make arthritis symptoms worse.

EFT Tapping - How to Tap. Use EFT Tapping for effective natural relief of physical symptoms, stress, fears and resistance to change. 

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