Eating habits with chronic joint pain

Last modified: December 12, 2019

Osteoarthritis is a joint disease which affects approximately one in four people over the age of 45 in the US. This makes the disease not only the most common joint disease in the country, but also the world. People with osteoarthritis can feel the symptoms of stiffness and pain in their joints. However, there are things you can do to prevent the pain and stiffness. One measure is to have a healthy diet and good eating habits. This can be summarized colloquially as an osteoarthritis diet.

What is an osteoarthritis diet?

In fact, there is not really a specific osteoarthritis diet as there is no research to support it. But the general recommendation is to try and eat as healthily as possible. If you have osteoarthritis, it is important to try and find a lifestyle and diet that suit you specifically. This may mean avoiding certain raw products and ingredients completely, or replacing previous favorites for more healthy options.

Anti-inflammatory foods in an osteoarthritis diet?

An anti-inflammatory diet is said to be able to reduce the symptoms of osteoarthritis. Examples of raw ingredients and products said to be anti-inflammatory include turmeric, ginger, garlic, rosemary and avocado. Blueberries also contain a lot of antioxidants, which are also recommended. Oily fish is also said to help counteract joint pain. Examples of “good” fish include salmon, herring and mackerel. Food supplements in the form of probiotics and omega 3 (of which fish contains large amounts) can also be beneficial for osteoarthritis. However, it should be pointed out this is advice that does not have definitive scientific support.

Eating large amounts of fruit and vegetables is good for most people, but can be particularly good for people with osteoarthritis, especially if someone has previously had less healthy eating habits. Fruit and vegetables with vitamin C are beneficial for the body, for example broccoli, red pepper, kiwi, oranges, strawberries and blackcurrants.

However, none of this dietary advice is substantiated by scientific research in relation to how it helps the symptoms of osteoarthritis. Instead, osteoarthritis sufferers should follow the general recommendations for a healthy diet.

Food to avoid in an osteoarthritis diet

Some people who have osteoarthritis feel that these problems are worse when combined with certain raw products and ingredients. It is therefore advisable to consider avoiding these foods as far as possible. Some examples of products which could aggravate the disease are: all processed food, cereals, sugar and dairy products. It may even be beneficial to reduce your intake of products with high levels of Omega 6 such as margarine and sunflower oil. However, there is no definitive scientific evidence for this either. It is general advice for a healthy lifestyle.

An additional point with regard to diet and osteoarthritis is that this is related to being overweight. Being overweight can be a risk factor for osteoarthritis. If you are overweight and suffer from the disease, you may benefit from losing weight. However, this should be seen in terms of long-term health, preferably in combination with training.

How does an osteoarthritis diet affect the body?

When you have osteoarthritis, the cartilage in the joints breaks down. In turn, this causes aches and pain. In the long run it can lead to other diseases such as cardiovascular diseases. If you are overweight, you might perhaps lose weight and thereby reduce the pain by knowing what food you should avoid and what you should eat slightly more of.

Unfortunately, in terms of an osteoarthritis diet, there is no one single diet plan that is perfect for everyone. The research results that doctors can agree on are that sugar, processed foods and alcohol should be reduced and most people should increase the amount of fruit and vegetables they eat. Instructor-led, long-term training is the documented proven treatment method to alleviate osteoarthritis symptoms. Good eating habits in combination with exercise could therefore be called the “medicine” to help many osteoarthritis sufferers to reduce the pain and stiffness as well as to provide long-term results.

You can find more information about an anti-inflammatory diet for joint pain here.