What are the most beneficial foods for osteoarthritis?

By Ali Mobasheri, University of Surrey and Margaret Rayman, University of Surrey

Osteoarthritis or osteoarthritis is the most common of the more than 200 forms of arthritis that exist and unfortunately there are no effective medications or treatments to alleviate a disabling disease that makes the joints stiff, causing great pain to those who suffer from it. Some drugs are in development, but it will be years until they are tested and admitted.

Many people with osteoarthritis take a surprising amount of dietary supplements. The favorites are glucosamine and chondroitin sulfates, but research conducted to date does not recommend their use. However, we can announce that our recent analysis of published research shows that eating the right foods and exercising moderately can benefit people with osteoarthritis.

First off, losing weight and exercising are the most important activities osteoarthritis patients can do to reduce symptoms. Weight loss reduces the load on the joints and reduces inflammation throughout the body, thereby mitigating the pain caused by the disease. Exercise helps lose weight and maintain muscle strength, protecting joints and making movement easier. Therefore, obese and overweight people should lose weight and increase the strength of their muscles through exercise to improve their mobility and reduce symptoms of arthritis.

Blue Fish

Eating certain foods can also help improve symptoms and reduce chronic joint pain. It is known that salmon, mackerel and sardines can improve joint pain and functionality, as these fish contain long-chain omega-3 fatty acid, the effect of which helps to quell the inflammatory substances that our bodies produce. Also, taking 1.5 grams of fish oil supplements a day can also be effective.

However, feeding only on oils from fish is not enough to mitigate osteoarthritis. It is also important to moderate the long-term consumption of high-fat red meats, as well as replacing saturated animal fats with oils of vegetable origin, such as olive and rapeseed.

Lower cholesterol

Osteoarthritis patients are at higher risk of having cholesterol, so following a diet that helps reduce the blood level will be beneficial, and will also improve cardiovascular health in general. Limiting your intake of saturated fat and increasing the amount of oatmeal and other easily digestible fibers will help lower cholesterol.

Other ways to lower blood cholesterol are to eat 30 grams of walnuts a day, 25 grams of tofu soy protein, soy milk or soybeans, as well as eating two grams a day of stanols and sterols. These substances are found in plants in small amounts, but the easiest way to consume them is through fortified drinks, spreads and yogurts that contain these vegetable components.


Osteoarthritis occurs when the joints become inflamed because the body produces more reactive chemicals that contain oxygen. Therefore, ingesting more antioxidants that neutralize these chemicals should protect the joints. Vitamins A, C, and E are powerful antioxidants that help keep connective tissues throughout the body healthy. However, it is not so clear that osteoarthritis symptoms improve.

Vitamin A is abundant in carrots, kale, and sweet potatoes. Similarly, fresh fruit and green leafy vegetables are rich in vitamin C, especially citrus, green and red bell peppers, and blackcurrant. Walnuts, seeds, and oils from sunflower seeds are a great source of vitamin E.

Research shows that increasing your intake of foods rich in vitamin K, such as cabbage, spinach, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts, can also benefit people with osteoarthritis. Furthermore, vitamin D produced by the body when exposed to sunlight is important for bone health, and many people do not produce it in sufficient quantities. However, research needs to be expanded before doctors can prescribe vitamin D supplements to osteoarthritis patients.

Although some well-known diet books argue that certain foods should be avoided, there is no clinical evidence that this benefits osteoarthritis patients. With the help of fellow nutritionists, we have summarized our findings in an informative list of foods approved by the British Dietetic Association (BDA), with which we seek to shed some light on beneficial diets to alleviate bone arthritis to the extent of the possible.

Article translated thanks to the collaboration with FundaciĆ³n Lilly.

Ali Mobasheri, Professor of Musculoskeletal Physiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Surrey, and Margaret Rayman, Professor of Nutritional Medicine, University of Surrey

This article was originally published in The Conversation. Read the original.

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