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What Is the Best Diet for Arthritis Pain?

A diet with lots of vegetables, fish and whole grains is the best diet for arthritis. The comparison is a Western diet with lots of processed foods.
What Is the Best Diet for Arthritis Pain?
Grilled Fish with Julienne Vegetable. Isolated on White Background

Have you wondered about the best diet for arthritis? Researchers have found that diet may play a role in the progression of knee osteoarthritis.

Studying the Best Diet for Arthritis:

The study of 2757 volunteers followed their progress for up to six years (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, March 2020). At the beginning of the trial (the Osteoarthritis Initiative), the participants answered detailed questions about their dietary habits. They also responded to a standardized questionnaire about knee pain called the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Arthritis Index, termed the WOMAC. In addition, investigators used x-rays at the beginning and end of the study for an objective assessment of knee joint changes.

According to the results, the best diet for arthritis is a prudent diet. Participants who ate more vegetables, fruit, grilled fish, whole grains and salad were less likely to have increased arthritis pain. Moreover, their x-rays did not show increased damage.

A Western-style diet, on the other hand, was linked to worsening knee pain. The scientists defined this as containing processed meat, soft drinks, bread and other refined flour products, sweets and packaged snacks.

The investigators concluded:

“In general, for people already diagnosed with KOA, eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, fish, whole grains, and legumes may be related to decreased radiographic and symptomatic disease progression.”

This report did not cover physical activity as part of a natural approach to managing arthritis. However, other studies have found that staying active can help keep joints moving

Learn More:

If you would like suggestions on how to cook to follow the best diet for arthritis, consider Recipes & Remedies. In addition to recipes for healthful meals, you will also find many remedies that other readers have used to ease arthritis pain.

If you have found good ways to eat that relieve your arthritis pain, be sure to share them in the comments.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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  • Xu C et al, "Dietary patterns and progression of knee osteoarthritis: Data from the Osteoarthritis Initiative." American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, March 2020. DOI: 10.1093/ajcn/nqz333
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