We're using cookies to give you the best experience on our site. Cookies are files stored in your browser and are used by most websites to help personalise your web experience.

By continuing to use our website without changing the settings, you're agreeing to our use of cookies.

Find out more
You are here:
> > > > > Are there any links between tomatoes and worsening arthritis?

Are there any links between tomatoes and worsening arthritis?

Q) I've heard so much about the link between consumption of tomatoes and worsening arthritis that I'm anxious to find out if there's any authoritative research that suggests it's so. I'm 63 (fit because I'm a fitness instructor, but that involves a lot of wear and tear and over-use of joints) and aware of worsening pain since my glut of tomatoes starting in July. Maybe I’m clutching at straws?
Mary, Halesworth (Winter 2011

A) I know of no research that links consumption of tomatoes with arthritis. Of course, it's just possible you have a food allergy to tomatoes and this manifests as arthritis rather than rash or diarrhoea but I've found food allergies to be a very rare cause of arthritis. Try excluding them (and other similar foods) from your diet. Joint symptoms increase with age but I doubt your exercise is linked with arthritis. Research suggests that normal use of the joints is good for them. It's only when injury occurs that the risk of arthritis is increased. This is why a lot of ex-footballers have knee arthritis. It also explains the different patterns of arthritis seen with occupational use, particularly in the hand.

This answer was provided by Dr Philip Helliwell for the Winter 2011 edition of our magazine, Arthritis Today, and was correct at the time of publication.

Send your questions for Tom to

Keep up to date with the latest from Arthritis TodaySign up today.


0800 5200 520

Our new helpline: Call us for free information, help and advice on your type of arthritis. Open Mon–Fri 9am–8pm.

All calls are recorded for training and quality purposes

Virtual Assistant

Our new Arthritis Virtual Assistant uses artificial intelligence to answer your arthritis related questions 24/7.

Ask a question

We're now

Versus Arthritis.

You're being taken through to our new website in order to finish your donation.

Thank you for your generosity.

For more information, go to
Arthritis Research UK fund research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis. You can support Arthritis Research UK by volunteering, donating or visiting our shops.