Q: Dear Dr. Mao,
When I begin to feel arthritis pain in my finger joints, should I stop eating tomatoes? What other actions can I take to alleviate the pain?
A: It is true that most of the nightshade group of foods, including tomatoes, red bell peppers, and eggplants are immune irritations and may exacerbate or aggravate rheumatic conditions. However, arthritis has other variations that are not related to the rheumatoid factors. I suggest you arrange some blood work to determine if you have the Rh factor, which will determine if you are suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Otherwise, the pain may be caused by osteoarthritis, which is due to bone density deterioration. If the pain is one sided and non-symmetrical it is most likely due to osteoarthritis. A proper consultation with your primary physician will assist in the diagnosis. Then I suggest you contact a licensed acupuncturist to arrange regular treatments.
You may find the herbal supplement “Arthritis/Joint” particularly helpful in both relieving joint pain and promoting natural joint function. Of course, discuss with your physician before beginning any new health regime.