Arthritis and Beans

Approximately 50 million adults have been diagnosed with arthritis at some point in their lifetime, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 1. Arthritis is a serious medical condition that increases the risk of chronic pain, inability to perform activities of daily living and depression. Certain dietary modifications can reduce the painful symptoms of arthritis in certain people. Beans are one food that may be beneficial to those with arthritis.

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If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.


Nutrition can help reduce levels of pain and combat the underlying inflammation that causes arthritis, according to the Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine, or PDRM, which adds that certain trigger foods can induce arthritis pain in certain individuals; these trigger foods include:

  • corn
  • eggs
  • wheat
  • nuts

Beans have a number of nutrients important for fighting arthritis.

Alpha-Linolenic Acid

Alpha-linolenic acid is a class of omega-3 fatty acid found in beans, the PCRM notes. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, some research suggests that regularly consuming alpha-linolenic acid can alleviate joint stiffness and reduce inflammation in people with arthritis.


People with both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis have abnormally high levels of oxidation in their bodies, according to a review paper published in the November 2008 "Nature Reviews Rheumatology." Oxidation is a byproduct of your body's metabolism that is usually kept in check by compounds known as antioxidants. However, if you don't consume enough antioxidants, you might have elevated levels of oxidation. The article in "Nature Reviews Rheumatology" notes that consumption of an antioxidant-rich diet can help reduce the risk of arthritis and may help improve symptoms in certain people 2. Black beans and other legumes are a rich source of naturally occurring antioxidants.

Vegan Diet

A vegan diet that's also free of gluten can significantly improve the symptoms of arthritis in some people, according to a research paper published in the October 2001 issue of "Rheumatology." Beans are an excellent food to include on a vegan diet because they provide dietary protein and iron --two nutrients that are lacking in many vegan diets 2.