5 Healthy Eating Habits To Relieve Knee Osteoarthritis

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The slightest of stiffness in our joints can hamper our movement for the rest of the day. And, if you have osteoarthritis, this might be your reality.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It causes pain, stiffness, and swelling in the joints that could eventually lead to disability. And, the most common victims of this health condition are the knees.[ref]Osteoarthritis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.[/ref] If you suffer from knee osteoarthritis, here are a few healthy eating habits that will help you deal with the condition better.


1. Count Your Calories

Weight loss reduces joint strain.

Research states that an important step towards relieving knee pain and improving movement in the knees is to reduce the amount of weight they have to bear. Counting calories and cutting down can help you reduce your weight and take the pressure off your knees.[ref]Bliddal, Henning, A. R. Leeds, and R. Christensen. “Osteoarthritis, obesity and weight loss: evidence, hypotheses, and horizons–a scoping review.” obesity reviews 15, no. 7 (2014): 578-586.[/ref]


Obesity both triggers and worsens knee osteoarthritis. And, exercise can be a little difficult and not very effective when you’ve got a stiff knee. Hence, eat smaller portions, reduce your intake of processed food, and avoid sugar to gradually lose weight.[ref]Sowers, MaryFran R., and Carrie A. Karvonen-Gutierrez. “The evolving role of obesity in knee osteoarthritis.” Current opinion in rheumatology 22, no. 5 (2010): 533.[/ref]

2. Watch Your Vitamin Intake

Vitamin C prevents bone reduction.


Vitamins C, D, K, and E don’t just boost your immunity and skin health. Studies state that antioxidants in vitamin C might prevent bone reduction and bone marrow lesions, two factors that contribute to knee osteoarthritis.[ref]Wang, Yuanyuan, Allison M. Hodge, Anita E. Wluka, Dallas R. English, Graham G. Giles, Richard O’Sullivan, Andrew Forbes, and Flavia M. Cicuttini. “Effect of antioxidants on knee cartilage and bone in healthy, middle-aged subjects: a cross-sectional study.” Arthritis research & therapy 9, no. 4 (2007): R66.[/ref]

Vitamin E, meanwhile, relieves oxidative stress, which aggravates knee osteoarthritis.[ref]Bhattacharya, I., Saxena, R., & Gupta, V. (2012). Efficacy of vitamin E in knee osteoarthritis management of North Indian geriatric population. Therapeutic advances in musculoskeletal disease, 4(1), 11-19.[/ref] Additionally, studies indicate that vitamin D deficiency could worsen the symptoms of knee osteoarthritis.[ref]Alkan, Gokhan, and Gurkan Akgol. “Do vitamin D levels affect the clinical prognoses of patients with knee osteoarthritis?.” Journal of Back and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation Preprint (2016): 1-5.[/ref] Furthermore, vitamin K is anti-inflammatory and is needed for the proper functioning of the bone and cartilage.[ref]Harshman, Stephanie G., and M. Kyla Shea. “The role of vitamin K in chronic aging diseases: Inflammation, cardiovascular disease, and osteoarthritis.” Current nutrition reports 5, no. 2 (2016): 90-98.[/ref]


Good sources of vitamin C include oranges, berries, and red bell peppers, while good sources of vitamin E include almonds, spinach, sweet potato, and avocado. For vitamin D, load up on salmon and for vitamin K, load up on leafy vegetables. If you do choose to supplement instead, consult a professional regarding the proper dosage.[ref] [ref]Peregoy, Jennifer, and Frances Vaughn Wilder. “The effects of vitamin C supplementation on incident and progressive knee osteoarthritis: a longitudinal study.” Public health nutrition 14, no. 4 (2011): 709-715.[/ref]

3. Eat Your Vegetables

Brocolli reduces inflammation.


Here’s another reason to add salads to your diet. Research states that certain vegetables including broccoli, cabbage, and Brussel sprouts contain sulforaphane, an anti-inflammatory compound that relieves pain and reduces stiffness. Additionally, it might protect the cartilage from damage.[ref]Eat Right for Your Type of Arthritis. Arthritis Foundation.[/ref] [ref]Davidson, Rose K., Orla Jupp, Rachel Ferrars, Colin D. Kay, Kirsty L. Culley, Rosemary Norton, Clare Driscoll et al. “Sulforaphane Represses Matrix‐Degrading Proteases and Protects Cartilage From Destruction In Vitro and In Vivo.” Arthritis & Rheumatology 65, no. 12 (2013): 3130-3140.[/ref]

Additionally, glucosinolate, natural components of many pungent plants such as mustard, cabbage, and horseradish might also aid in providing relief from the symptoms of knee osteoarthritis.[ref]Davidson, Rose, Sarah Gardner, Orla Jupp, Angela Bullough, Sue Butters, Laura Watts, Simon Donell et al. “Isothiocyanates are detected in human synovial fluid following broccoli consumption and can affect the tissues of the knee joint.” Scientific Reports 7 (2017).[/ref]


4. Cook With Olive Oil

Olive oil relieves joint pain.

Switch your regular sources of fat with olive oil. Research states that it has a phenolic compound called oleocanthal which reduces inflammation and pain in the joints, just like NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).[ref]Parkinson, Lisa, and Russell Keast. “Oleocanthal, a phenolic derived from virgin olive oil: a review of the beneficial effects on inflammatory disease.” International journal of molecular sciences 15, no. 7 (2014): 12323-12334.[/ref]


Additionally, olive oil consists of omega 3 fatty acids, which reduce joint pain and stiffness. However, be sure to opt for high-quality olive oil that has a strong smell.[ref]Knott, L., N. C. Avery, A. P. Hollander, and J. F. Tarlton. “Regulation of osteoarthritis by omega-3 (n-3) polyunsaturated fatty acids in a naturally occurring model of disease.” Osteoarthritis and cartilage 19, no. 9 (2011): 1150-1157.[/ref] [ref]New ways to beat osteoarthritis pain. Harvard Health Publishing.[/ref]

5. Pay Attention To Cooking Temperatures

Pay Attention To Cooking Temperatures

Food, especially meat, that’s cooked in high-temperature tends to contain high levels of advanced glycation end products (AGEs). These products lead to increased oxidative stress and inflammation.[ref]Uribarri, Jaime, Sandra Woodruff, Susan Goodman, Weijing Cai, Xue Chen, Renata Pyzik, Angie Yong, Gary E. Striker, and Helen Vlassara. “Advanced glycation end products in foods and a practical guide to their reduction in the diet.” Journal of the American Dietetic Association 110, no. 6 (2010): 911-916.[/ref]

Research indicates that AGEs lead to cartilage stiffness and knee pain.[ref]Saudek, Deborah M., and Jonathan Kay. “Advanced glycation endproducts and osteoarthritis.” Current rheumatology reports 5, no. 1 (2003): 33-40.[/ref] So, be sure to cut back on microwaved, grilled, and fried food. Do talk to a professional regarding your cooking habits if you’re unsure of it.

Apart from adopting these habits, avoid processed food, fried food, and omega 6 fatty acids from egg yolks and red meat.[ref]New ways to beat osteoarthritis pain. Harvard Health Publishing.[/ref] Doing so will help reduce pain and make getting through the day easier.