Foods that Fight Osteoarthritis

Pin It

Unlike other forms of forms of arthritis, your risk of developing osteoarthritis is largely related to lifestyle factors like diet, weight, exercise, and previous injury. In fact, dietary and lifestyle changes can have a huge affect on the prevention and management of osteoarthritis. But where do you begin? There exists only preliminary research on the effects of nutrition on osteoarthritis, but these results are promising. At the same time, there are many claims about dietary supplements, foods, and other substances that have no research to back them up. This article will help you separate the facts from the fiction when it comes to fighting osteoarthritis with dietary changes. Keep in mind that nutrition is just one of the many factors affecting osteoarthritis, and you should always create a prevention or treatment plan along with your doctor's recommendations.

 

Fighting Osteoarthritis with the Right Food Choices

According to preliminary nutrition research, the following nutrients and substances in foods may benefit osteoarthritis.

Vitamin C may help reduce the progression of osteoarthritis. Vitamin C is involved in the formation of both collagen and proteoglycans (two major components of cartilage, which cushions the joints). Vitamin C is also a powerful antioxidant that helps to counteract the effects of free radicals in the body, which can damage cartilage.
• Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits, strawberries, peppers, kiwi, cantaloupe, green-leafy vegetables, cauliflower, tomatoes, potatoes, and pineapple.
• While most adults need between 75 mg (women) and 90 mg (men) of vitamin C each day, osteoarthritis experts suggest consuming 200 milligrams of vitamin C daily. Use the following chart as a reference guide to meet your needs.

Vitamin C Sources

mg

 Acerola cherries, 1 cup

 820

 Red bell pepper, 1 cup

 280

 Guava, 1 medium

 165

 Broccoli, 1 cup

 120

 Orange, 1 medium

 120

 Green bell pepper, 1 cup

 120

 Cauliflower (cooked), 1 cup

 100

 Papaya, 1 medium

 95

 Strawberries, 1 cup

 90

 Kale (cooked), 1 cup

 85

 Cabbage greens (boiled), 1 cup

 80

 Orange juice, 3/4 cup

 75

 Cantaloupe, 1 cup

 70

 Kiwi, 1 medium

 60

 Grapefruit juice, 3/4 cup

 60

Beta-carotene is another antioxidant that also seems to help reduce the risk of osteoarthritis progression.

  • Beta-carotene is found in red, yellow, and orange fruits and vegetables (pumpkin, cantaloupe, peppers, carrots) and many dark-green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, Romaine lettuce).
  • While most adults need about 2,330 International Units (IU) of beta-carotene each day, osteoarthritis experts recommend 9,000 IU of beta-carotene daily. Use the following chart as a reference guide to meet your needs. (Please note that while some foods have high levels of beta-carotene, it is non-toxic. Your body will only utilize what it needs.)

 Beta Carotene Sources

 IU

 Sweet potato (baked), 1 medium

 28,058

 Carrots (cooked), 1 cup

 26,835

 Spinach (boiled), 1 cup

 22,916

 Kale (boiled), 1 cup

 19,116

 Pumpkin pie, 1 slice

 12,431

 Carrot (raw), 1 medium

 8,666

 Butternut Squash (boiled), 1 cup

 8,014

 Spinach (raw), 1 cup

 2,813

 Mango, 1 cup sliced

 1,262

 Oatmeal, 1 pack instant

 947

 Tomato juice, 6 oz

 819

 Peach, 1 medium

 319

 Red pepper, 3" ring

 313

Vitamin D is necessary for proper calcium absorption and bone structure, which are crucial in proper joint functioning. A low intake of vitamin D appears to increase cartilage loss.

  • Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin because your body can make it when your skin is exposed to ultraviolet sunlight—all you need is 15 minutes of exposure (face, arms and legs), without wearing SPF (it blocks your ability to make this conversion), three to four times a week. However, it may be difficult for some to meet the suggested daily exposure, including people who do not get outdoors much, people who are bundled up during the winter months with little sun exposure, and for older people whose skin is less efficient at this conversion.
  • Fortified milk and cereals, eggs, tuna, and fish-liver oils all help the body obtain vitamin D. Supplements are another option, but always discuss that with your health care provider first.
  • Recommended vitamin D intake ranges from 600 IU (for adults up to age 70) to 800 IU (for adults over age 70), but osteoarthritis experts suggest at least 600 International Units (IU) daily. Use the following chart as a reference guide to meet your needs.

 Vitamin D Sources

 IU

 Cod liver oil, 1 Tbsp

 1,360

 Salmon, 3.5 oz

 360

 Mackerel, 3.5 oz

 345

 Tuna (canned), 3 oz

 200

 Sardines (canned), 1.75 oz

 250

 Milk, D-fortified, 1 cup

 100

Egg (or egg yolk), 1 medium

 41

 Cereals, D-fortified, 1 cup

 40

 Vitamin D supplement

 200-400

Omega-3 fatty acids suppress inflammation and are used to form the outer membranes of joint cells. Omega-6 fatty acids, on the other hand, promote inflammation which can contribute to the pain and stiffness of osteoarthritis. Most people consume approximately 10 times more of the inflammation-promoting omega-6's than they do the anti-inflammatory omega-3's.

  • Decrease your intake of omega-6 fatty acids by cutting back on corn, safflower and cottonseed oil. Limit your intake, as much as possible, of saturated fats and trans-fatty acids.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids are found in cold-water fish (such as salmon, halibut, tuna and sardines), pecans, walnuts, soy foods (tofu, soybean oil), olive and canola oils, flaxseeds, and flaxseed oil.
  • Nutrition and health experts recognize that omega-3's are healthy and should be a part of your diet, but have not yet established a recommended daily intake. Osteoarthritis experts suggest three grams of omega-3 fatty acids daily (with 0.7 grams coming from fish sources). Use the following chart as a reference guide to meet your needs.

 Omega-3 Sources

 Grams

 Flaxseeds (ground), 2 Tbsp

 3.5

 Walnuts, 1/4 cup

 2.3

 Atlantic salmon, 3.5 oz

 2.0

 Albacore tuna, 3.5 oz

 1.5

 Soybeans (cooked), 1 cup

 1.0

 Halibut, 3.5 oz

 0.5

 Tofu (raw), 4 oz

 0.4

 Olive oil (uncooked), 2 Tbsp

 0.2

Originally found here

 

Pin It