Osteoarthritis: 12 foods to ease your symptoms

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, it develops when the cartilage in the joints breaks down over time. This condition can affect any joint in the body, but people often notice it in their knees, hands, hips, or spine.

According to Arthritis Ireland about 915,000 people in Ireland live with arthritis.

Although there is no diet cure for arthritis, certain foods have been shown to fight inflammation, strengthen bones and boost the immune system.

Adding these foods to your balanced diet may help ease the symptoms of your arthritis:

1. Fish

Salmon, tuna, mackeral and herring are packed with inflammation-fighting omega-3 fatty acids. Experts recommend eating at least 3 to 4 ounces of fish, twice a week.

2. Soy

If you’re not a fan of fish but still want the anti-inflammation benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, soybeans (tofu or edamame).

3. Dairy

Low-fat dairy products, like milk, yogurt and cheese are full of calcium and vitamin D, both found to increase bone strength. If dairy doesn't agree with you, add other calcium and vitamin D-rich foods to your diet, like leafy green vegetables.

4. Oils

Extra virgin olive oil is loaded with oleocanthal, which has properties similar to non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs. Walnut oil has 10 times the omega-3s that olive oil has.

5. Cherries

Research has shown that the anthocyanins found in cherries have an anti-inflammatory effect. These can also be found in other red and purple fruits like strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries.

6. Broccoli

Rich in vitamins K and C, broccoli also contains sulforaphane, which researchers have found could help prevent or slow the progression of osteoarthritis. Broccoli is also packed with calcium, known for its bone-building benefits (don’t make me sing it).

7. Green Tea

Green tea is packed with polyphenols, antioxidants believed to reduce inflammation and slow cartilage destruction.

8. Citrus fruits

Citrus fruits – like oranges, grapefruits and limes – are rich in vitamin C. Research shows that getting the right amount of vitamin aids in maintaining healthy joints with osteoarthritis.

9. Grains

Whole grains lower levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) – a marker of inflammation - in the blood. Foods like oatmeal, brown rice and whole-grain cereals are excellent sources.

10. Beans

Beans are packed with fibre, which also helps lower CRP. Beans are also an excellent source of protein, which is important for muscle health. Try red beans, kidney beans and pinto beans.

11. Garlic

Studies have shown that people who regularly ate foods from the allium family – such as garlic – showed fewer signs of early osteoarthritis. Researchers believe the compound diallyl disulphine found in garlic may limit cartilage-damaging enzymes in human cells.

12. Nuts

Nuts are rich in protein, calcium, magnesium, zinc, vitamin E and immune-boosting alpha linolenic acid (ALA), as well as filling protein and fibre. Try walnuts, pine nuts, pistachios and almonds.


 Information from Arthritis Foundation, Arthritis Ireland and HSE