Best Foods For Osteoarthritis


Osteoarthritis (0A) is a condition that causes the joints to become painful and stiff; this is because the cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones begins to deteriorate.1 It mainly occurs in the hands, hips, and knees. It is vital to have a well-balanced diet to maintain a healthy body weight. This helps manage the symptoms and reduces the likelihood of other diseases occurring, such as obesity and cardiovascular disease. This article will detail the types of food that are best for managing osteoarthritis through properties such as fighting inflammation and boosting bone function. 

General dietary guidelines for osteoarthritis

 Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial as it can cut down the pain associated with osteoarthritis and improve the function of the joints, which can help improve mobility. Studies suggest that losing 10-20 per cent of body weight can reduce pain. Balancing macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates, fats) and reducing inflammation through diet is essential. Another important factor in maintaining symptoms of osteoarthritis is staying hydrated, as water can stimulate synovial fluid and is essential for flushing out toxins, which is a form of fighting inflammation to help with the regeneration of the cartilage so that you can move more easily.

Best foods for osteoarthritis

Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are healthy fats with benefits such as heart health and brain function. In the case of osteoarthritis, they help to reduce pain and inflammation and can protect against cartilage loss.

  1. Fatty fish 

Fatty fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. This includes fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines. Eating a source of this type of fish 2-4 times a week is recommended for lowering inflammation in cardiovascular disease and arthritis.10

  1. Flaxseeds and chia seeds

Flaxseeds and chia seeds are a source of anti-inflammatory ALA, which have a high fibre content; this can make you feel full and is a great way to maintain a healthy weight.  These seeds are also suitable  for reducing diabetes and heart disease. 

  1. Walnuts

Walnuts are a dry fruit that is a good source of healthy fats, fibre and protein that can reduce o joint pains from osteoarthritis. Some studies find that they can lower C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation in OA.2

Antioxidant-rich foods

Antioxidants are compounds that inhibit oxidation and, therefore, reduce joint cartilage's wearing down. Studies show that antioxidant supplements do not work as well as naturally occurring antioxidants in foods such as fruit and vegetables.3

  1. Berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries)

Berries are a great source of antioxidants that are full of fibre and vitamins, which can reduce inflammation and fight against oxidative stress.  They are also a source of polyphenols, which can reduce the changes found in OA. A study done on rats found that raspberries improved tissue swelling compared to the controls.4

  1. Dark leafy greens (spinach, kale)

Dark leafy greens are high in fibre minerals and vitamins A, C and K, which protect the cells from free-radical damage. The greens are also a food type that is high in bone-preserving calcium, so the bones are stronger.

  1. Red and yellow bell peppers

Violaxanthin is found in yellow bell peppers, and capsanthin is found in red bell peppers. Red peppers are the most nutrient-dense form of bell peppers and contain lycopene, a type of red pigment and powerful antioxidant that helps protect the cells from damage and can improve heart health. They are also packed with vitamins A and C, which are excellent for iron absorption. 

Turmeric and curcumin

Curcumin is a primary bioactive substance in turmeric, this contains anti-inflammatory properties that may ease chronic pain such as that in patients with osteoarthritis. 

  1. Turmeric spice

Turmeric is gaining popularity for its great health benefits. This spice protects cells from damage and inflammation and eases the symptoms of osteoarthritis. 

  1. Curcumin supplements 

Curcumin targets specific molecules that control the cell cycle and block inflammatory enzymes such as cyclooxygenase (Cox-2), so it can be helpful for people with OA. Curcumin supplements are a convenient way to add turmeric to your diet and have been shown to reduce inflammation in the body and ease the symptoms of osteoarthritis.5


There are many health benefits linked to ginger as it is filled with antioxidants to prevent stress and damage to the cells of the body. This is great for reducing nausea, easing cold or fever symptoms, bringing relief to digestive systems and relieving joint pain. This can be taken by eating fresh root ginger or ginger tea is a great way to consume ginger to gain its anti-inflammatory benefits and reduce pain in patients with OA. 


Garlic is a food that is health-promoting  and disease-preventing  due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and can reduce cartilage damage in OA. This  can be added to the diet by incorporating garlic into meals such as soups, sauces, and curries. 

Green tea

Green tea is full of polyphenols, plant-derived compounds that can improve the immune system. Green tea can benefit patients with osteoarthritis by changing the chemical in a damaged point so that they are better able to heal. A study found that green tea can improve bone strength and has also shown that people had a reduction in hip fractures from drinking tea. 6

Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are a good source of protein, healthy fats, and fibres, which are great tools to fight against inflammation.

  1. Almonds

Almonds are high in antioxidants and vitamin E, they are great for reducing bad cholesterol such as LDL, which can help to reduce body weight , an essential factor for managing OA.

  1. Sunflower seeds

Sunflower seeds are a source of vitamins and minerals that can support the immune system by lowering blood pressure and blood sugar. Some studies say that adding this to your meals 3-5 times a week aids chronic conditions such as joint pain. 

Olive oil

  1. Extra virgin olive oil

Extra virgin olive oil has many benefits, such as strengthening the immune system and improving heart health. Polyphenol extract, which is found in extra virgin olive oil, can decrease joint pain and cartilage. Another component of olive oil, oleocanthal, has the same anti-inflammatory effects as ibuprofen as it inhibits the cyclooxygenase enzyme COX-1.7 There are many ways to add this to your diet; one way is to substitute it for butter when cooking or to add it as a salad dressing. 

Foods to limit or avoid

Processed foods

Processed foods commonly have added salt, sugar, and fats. This includes baked goods and pre-packaged foods. These foods contain trans fats to preserve them. However, this triggers inflammation, which can trigger symptoms such as pain.

Sugary beverages

Sugary beverages such as Coca-Cola have a high amount of sugar in them, which increases inflammation and can worsen the symptoms found in OA patients.

High-sodium foods

Foods high in sodium include salt, sauces, and cheese. These types of food cause high blood pressure and can cause the cells to retain water, causing them to swell up. It can also cause synovial inflammation, which can cause joint pain.

Excessive red meat

Red meats include beef, lamb, or goat. Having red meat regularly may increase the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart problems. It has also been linked to an increase in inflammation. One study found that eating red meat decreased the need for hip replacement in OA but not knee or joint replacement.8

Gluten (for some individuals)

In some patients with OA, gluten, which is a protein found in wheat, barley, or rye, can cause an increase in arthritis symptoms such as swelling and joint pain. Some studies found that reducing or eliminating gluten foods from the diet led to an improvement in OA symptoms.9


The management of a person’s diet is a great form of managing the symptoms found in patients with osteoarthritis.  This can be done through eating a balanced diet full of anti-inflammatory foods. It is important to consult a doctor or nutritionist for personalised dietary recommendations before starting to use any foods or supplements for the long term. The impact of eating healthier dietary choices on osteoarthritis symptoms and overall well-being is positive as patients will find a reduction in pain and ease in movement. 


  1. Abramoff B, Caldera FE. Osteoarthritis: Pathology, Diagnosis, and Treatment Options. Medical Clinics of North America. 2020 Mar;104(2):293–311.
  2. Kris-Etherton PM. Walnuts Decrease Risk of Cardiovascular Disease: A Summary of Efficacy and Biologic Mechanisms. The Journal of Nutrition. 2014 Feb 5;144(4):547S554S.
  3. Services D of H & H. Antioxidants [Internet]. Available from:
  4. Figueira ME, Câmara MB, Direito R, Rocha J, Serra AT, Duarte CMM, et al. Chemical characterization of a red raspberry fruit extract and evaluation of its pharmacological effects in experimental models of acute inflammation and collagen-induced arthritis. Food Funct. 2014;5(12):3241–51.
  5. Panknin TM, Howe CL, Hauer M, Bucchireddigari B, Rossi AM, Funk JL. Curcumin Supplementation and Human Disease: A Scoping Review of Clinical Trials. International Journal of Molecular Sciences [Internet]. 2023 Feb 24 [cited 2023 Sep 15];24(5):4476. Available from:
  6. Shen CL, Chyu MC, Wang JS. Tea and bone health: steps forward in translational nutrition. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition [Internet]. 2013 Oct 30 [cited 2023 Jan 8];98(6):1694S1699S. Available from:
  7. Silva M. STUDIES IN NATURAL PRODUCTS CHEMISTRY : bioactive natural products. S.L.: Elsevier; 2020.
  8. Wang Y, Simpson JA, Wluka AE, English DR, Giles GG, Graves S, et al. Meat consumption and risk of primary hip and knee joint replacement due to osteoarthritis: a prospective cohort study. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders. 2011 Jan 16;12(1).
  9. Bruzzese V, Scolieri P, Pepe J. Efficacy of gluten-free diet in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Reumatismo. 2021 Jan 18;72(4):213–7.
  10. Costabile G, Della Pepa GD, Vetrani C, Vitaglione P, Griffo E, Giacco R, et al. An Oily Fish Diet Improves Subclinical Inflammation in People at High Cardiovascular Risk: A Randomized Controlled Study. Molecules. 2021 Jun 2;26(11):3369.
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Alina Khan

Alina is a recent graduate with a degree in Biomedical Science. She is always ready to expand her knowledge in health and science in topics such as oncology and neurology. As a medical writer at Klarity she would like to share her interest and educate others about a variety of healthcare topics to improve public awareness. presents all health information in line with our terms and conditions. It is essential to understand that the medical information available on our platform is not intended to substitute the relationship between a patient and their physician or doctor, as well as any medical guidance they offer. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making any decisions based on the information found on our website.
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