Choose the right food to fight osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a  common ailment that affects an estimated 75 percent of Canadians over the age of 50. The condition is most prevalent among the elderly, but we'll teach you how a proper diet can fight it.

Choose the right food to fight osteoarthritis

Understand osteoarthritis and its symptoms

  • Decades of use cause stress in cartilage, which is the spongy, protective cushion located at the ends of bones. With age, damaged cartilage doesn't repair itself as effectively and can progressively deteriorate into osteoarthritis, or degenerative joint disease.
  • The initial symptoms of the condition are joint stiffness and discomfort and are usually mild. However, once previously-cushioned bones begin to rub together, they create uncomfortable friction, tenderness, and gnarled joints.
  • Any joint is vulnerable to osteoarthritis, but it usually occurs in the ankles, feet, fingers, hips, knees, neck, or spine.
  • The pain and stiffness of osteoarthritis most frequently affect the weight-bearing joints, and diseased joints may become knobby and deformed.
  • If joint stiffness restricts movement, nearby muscles may become weaker, which contributes to even greater joint pain and stiffness.

Discover the causes

Years of use gradually break down cartilage and its supporting structural tissue. Cartilage and related tissue-repair mechanisms gradually be­come deficient as a person ages, which contributes to osteoarthritis. In addition, excess body weight, genetic predisposition, defects in joints or cartilage, joint injuries, or repetitive joint motions associated with physical activity can lead to osteoarthritis.

Learn how food can help

Several nutrients may benefit osteoarthritis, alleviating joint pain and inflammation as well as promoting cartilage repair.

  • Research suggests that vitamin C may minimize cartilage loss and slow the progression of osteoarthritis. Another powerful antioxidant, vitamin E, may relieve osteoarthritis symptoms, according to preliminary clinical research.
  • Population studies link low levels of vitamin D with an elevated risk for osteoarthritis. Vitamin D's partner, calcium, may help bolster weight-bearing joints damaged by osteoarthritis and also stave off osteoporosis.
  • Some clinical evidence suggests that consuming omega-3 fatty acids and shogaols and gingerols (healing substances in ginger) may help relieve the tenderness and swelling of osteo­arthritis. These compounds exhibit potent anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Though scientific data is limited, some experts believe that consuming pineapple may defend against osteoarthritis and possibly improve symptoms. The pineapple enzyme bromelain is thought to alleviate swelling associated with osteoarthritis, because this compound has demonstrated anti-inflammatory activity in laboratory research.
  • Because osteoarthritis is more prevalent among women, some experimental evidence suggests that certain forms of estrogen may worsen the disease. Scientists believe that phytoestrogens (estrogen-like plant compounds) may block the possible influence of natural estrogen on osteoarthritis. Phyto­estrogens are plentiful in soy foods.

Check out the recent research

Observational research has found that older people who consumed inadequate amounts of vitamin D, and who had low levels of this bone-strengthening vitamin in their blood, had a substantially higher risk for progressively worsening osteo­arthritis of the knee. Another study suggests that elderly women with low blood levels of vitamin D may have an elevated risk for osteoarthritis in the hip.

Osteoarthritis is serious, but you can take steps to reduce your risk. Start by speaking with your doctor, and try to modify your diet to include more fatty fish, ginger, berries, broccoli, cantaloupe, peppers, milk, avocados, nuts, olive oil, and seeds. Not only will you slash your risk of developing osteoarthritis, but you'll be eating more healthily in general as well.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
Close menu