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Nutrition for Osteoarthritis

Maintaining a healthy body weight is one of the most effective strategies to alleviate the symptoms associated with osteoarthritis. Excess body weight puts additional strain on joints. Weight loss will help to reduce the joint pain and stiffness associated with osteoarthritis.

A diet high in refined and processed foods, sugars, alcohol, bad fats, red meats and other anti-nutrients can exacerbate arthritic pain. In contrast, certain nutrients and substances in foods may benefit osteoarthritis.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is involved in the formation of collagen and proteoglycans, which are two of the major components of cartilage. It is also a powerful antioxidant that helps to counteract the effects of free radicals in the body.

Food sources:

Citrus fruits, strawberries, cherries, peppers, kiwi, green leafy vegetables, cauliflower, broccoli, tomatoes, potatoes and pineapple.


Beta-carotene is another antioxidant that helps destroy free radicals before they can cause excessive damage to joints and may help to reduce the progression of osteoarthritis.

Food sources:

Red and orange fruits and vegetables (carrots, red pepper, sweet potato, butternut squash, mango) and dark-green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, Brussels sprouts, chard).

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3’s help to decrease inflammation by suppressing the production of cytokines and enzymes that breakdown cartilage.

Food sources:

Wild salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, fortified eggs, flaxseed and walnuts.

Vitamin D

Research is mixed about vitamin D, but some studies show that vitamin D can help prevent the breakdown of cartilage and aid calcium absorption.

Food sources:

Fortified milk and cereals, powdered milk, eggs and oily fish.

A Vitamin D supplement of 600 IU may be beneficial, particularly during the winter months when sun exposure is limited.