If you’re an avid fruit lover who also suffers from arthritis, has the question of ‘what fruits are bad for arthritis’ ever crossed your mind? If so, you’re right in your cautious assumptions that some fruits you regularly eat might be aggravating your arthritis. Even though many fruits contain essential vitamins and minerals which help to fight inflammation, many others have been reported to aggravate the inflammatory symptoms of arthritis.

These fruits are found in the nightshade family and produce a natural chemical called Solanine. Solanine is used by plants as a defense system against fungus and other pests and therefore, triggers inflammation in some individuals with arthritis. Being aware of Solanine containing foods and how to substitute them will save you a lot of pain if they worsen your arthritis. Want to know more about the harmful effects some fruits may be having on your arthritis? If so, read on to understand how to identify these fruits and substitute them for safer alternatives.

What is Arthritis?

Arthritis is a condition that causes inflammation of the joints, resulting in pain, stiffness, and swelling. It can be triggered by stress on the joints, weight gain, cold weather, and repetitive motions. Unfortunately, there is no cure for arthritis but with proper management and therapy, the symptoms can be relieved and the condition improved.

One of the best ways to improve the inflammatory symptoms of arthritis in the joints is through lifestyle changes such as exercise and a switch to the right diet. What you eat is crucial to how your body’s response to arthritis.

What Fruits Are Bad for Arthritis?

1. Eggplant

Eggplants belong to the nightshade family of fruits and are widely consumed around the world. Also known as aubergines, they come in several shapes, colours and varieties. What’s more, they are nutrient-dense but low in calories and can help you with weight loss. A lot of nutrients can be found in eggplant, antioxidants, and fiber which can help prevent cancer and diabetes. They also contain several vitamins and minerals such as vitamins C and K, folate, manganese and potassium. 

However, if you are allergic to chemicals that contain solanine that is found in nightshade plants (such as eggplants), you can substitute them in your diet with zucchini or mushrooms. Mushrooms are fleshy, so they can work out perfectly in your diet as an eggplant substitute. Zucchini also has a similar texture to eggplant. It is also nutrient-dense, so you don’t have to worry about missing out on the variety of vitamins and minerals that eggplants are bursting with.

2. Tomato

Tomato is a common ingredient in most dishes. It has many anti-oxidizing properties that aid in the prevention of certain cancers and heart diseases. More so, it is rich in vitamins C and K which play an excellent role in blood clotting and bone health. The potassium found in tomato is useful for controlling blood pressure and preventing heart diseases. 

Tomato is, however, another example of fruits belonging to the nightshade family which contains solanine, the chemical believed to worsen arthritic inflammation. Soups, marinades, sauces, and condiments commonly have tomatoes are a primary ingredient. So try to carefully read food labels before consumption, if you are sensitive to nightshade plants.

If you don’t want to miss the rich nutrition in tomato dishes, you can substitute tomato products such as ketchup, tomato juice, and tomato paste with tamarind concentrate, pumpkin or squash puree, and pesto. You can also substitute raw tomatoes in your salad recipes with finely diced watermelon or strawberries. 

3. Peppers

Peppers are fruits rich in nutrients such as vitamins A and C, folate, potassium, and fiber. Vitamin A promotes eye health while vitamin C improves iron absorption which prevents anemia. Peppers are also rich in antioxidants which help to prevent many chronic diseases such as some cancers and heart disease. Peppers are available in several varieties, with different shapes and sizes. Some varieties include bell peppers, capsicum, chilies, cayenne, and habanero. 

If pepper causes inflammatory reactions and worsens your arthritis, are you wondering how you can avoid and substitute it without missing out on its nutritional benefits? Well, our advice is to replace sweet bell peppers with celery in your stew or soup recipes. This way, you will benefit from the vitamin C, A, folate, and potassium properties also found in peppers. Radish also works as a perfect substitute due to its crunchy texture.

4. Berries

Some berries such as Goji berries, Jerusalem cherries, Gooseberries, and Wonder berries also belong to the nightshade family of fruits believed to contain solanine which could aggravate joint pains. These berries are fiber, vitamin, and mineral-rich and protect from anemia, cancer, and heart diseases. 

To get the most nutrients in these berries, substitute with solanine-free berries such as cranberries and strawberries. This way, you won’t compromise on a potential allergic reaction from solanines. In addition, you can also opt for other fruits such as citrus and gourds.

Oranges, lemon, grapefruit, and tangerine are great examples of citrus fruits you can enjoy as a quick snack. By consuming such fruit, you won’t have to worry about your joints because they produce anti-inflammatory substances. Gourds such as squash, melons, and cucumbers also make great substitutes for a solanine-free diet.


In conclusion, nightshade plants are rich in nutrients and are generally safe to eat. However, if you have arthritis or any kind of joint inflammation, you may have to stay away from these varieties of fruit as they have been reported to aggravate arthritic inflammation. However, you can always substitute with a healthier option to avoid any allergic response.

In addition to avoiding trigger foods, reducing arthritis inflammation is possible through improved lifestyle practices. This includes eating a balanced diet, drinking enough water, and exercising. Alternatively, talk to your doctor to discuss any allergic reaction you are experiencing due to eating any of these categories of nightshade fruits.

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We do hope you enjoyed reading this article. Why not share your experience with fruits that trigger arthritis in the comments section below? Also, feel free to share this article with others.

The articles on this site are not medical or certified advice, all content that has been created is simply our opinions,experiences and independent research. We strongly advise seeking professional,qualified expert advice from either your GP or a certified medical practitioner before making any changes to do with your health,diet, exercise or habits.