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4 Best Drinking Habits for Arthritis Symptoms, Say Dietitians

Save yourself the pain and follow these tips.

Arthritis can be an extremely difficult, uncomfortable, and even painful problem. While there are medications and tactics for treating it and lessening the severity of symptoms, it's always possible for a flare-up to happen. When these do occur, your everyday tasks become more difficult and the frustration kicks in.

Things like stress, too much movement, weather changes, and poor dietary choices can cause arthritis flare-ups and exacerbate symptoms. To help those with arthritis combat these flare ups, we talked with medical board experts Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD author of The Sports Nutrition Playbook, and Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, author of The First Time Mom's Pregnancy Cookbook and Fueling Male Fertility, about the best drinking habits you can adopt in your daily life. Then, for more healthy drinking tips, check out 4 Best Drinking Habits for Dementia.

Limit sugar-sweetened beverages.


According to our dietitians, too much added sugar can make arthritis symptoms much worse.

"Adding too many sugary drinks to your diet can be linked to flare-ups, which is not ideal for those with arthritis," says Manaker.

"Sugar-sweetened beverages like soda, sweet tea, and many fruity drinks should be limited as much as possible," says Goodson. "Over time, excessive intake of added sugars can contribute to chronic inflammation, a contributor to arthritis pain, and many sugar-sweetened beverages have next to no nutritional value, meaning they really provide you with sugar and calories. Try swapping these out for water, lightly flavored waters, or even water flavored with fresh fruit as a good low-to-no sugar hydration source."

Opt for coffee without the sugar.


Black coffee has many wonderful health benefits, but coffee lovers with arthritis should be careful about which ingredients they're consuming in their morning cup of Joe.

"It might be obvious that beverages like sodas are full of sugar, but guess what, so are many of the fancy coffee beverages that people consume regularly," says Goodson. "Caramel this, mocha that, chai lattes and the like all often have lots of sugar, sometimes 30 to 50 grams each. Consistent intake of sugar can contribute to inflammation, potentially making arthritis pain worse."

Stay hydrated.

woman drinking water

Staying hydrated and drinking plenty of water is important for your health on every level, but it's especially helpful when it comes to relieving arthritis symptoms.

"Your body is made of 60% to 80% water depending on your age," says Goodson. "Adequate water intake can help keep your joints well lubricated and potentially help arthritis pain."

Limit your consumption of alcohol.

Sad woman drinking wine at kitchen.

Unfortunately, alcohol can contribute to inflammation, one of the leading causes of painful arthritis symptoms.

"Alcohol can exacerbate flare-ups," says Manaker. "So, while indulging in brunch-time mimosas sounds like a fun idea, this practice isn't a great idea if you have arthritis."

Samantha Boesch
Samantha was born and raised in Orlando, Florida and now works as a writer in Brooklyn, NY. Read more about Samantha