How food helps OA

How and what you eat may affect the development of osteoarthritis.

Scientists say that when inflammation occurs, the body produces molecules known as free radicals. Free radicals form in the body in response to toxins and natural processes, including inflammation.

When too many free radicals build up, oxidative stress results. Oxidative stress can contribute to cell and tissue damage throughout the body.

This includes damage to the synovium and cartilage, which play a role in cushioning the knee joint. Oxidative stress can also trigger further inflammation.

Antioxidants are molecules that can help protect the body from free radicals. They’re present in the body, and you can also obtain them from plant-based foods.

ResearchersTrusted Source don’t know exactly how free radicals and oxidative stress affect OA, but some have suggested that consuming antioxidants may help.

Consuming a diet that enables you to maintain a healthy weight will also help manage OA of the knee.

Foods to eat

Various nutrients may help boost joint health and reduce inflammation.

The following foods may help delay the onset or progression of osteoarthritis:

  • fruits and vegetables, which provide antioxidants
  • low-fat dairy foods, which contain calcium and vitamin D
  • healthy oils, such as extra virgin olive oil

These foods are a part of an anti-inflammatory diet.

Some foods can increase the risk of oxidative stress.

Foods that may have this effect include:

  • highly processed foods
  • foods that contain added sugar
  • unhealthy fats, such as trans fats and saturated fats
  • red meats

Eating these foods could increase levels of inflammation.

Ways of reducing or managing weight include:

  • Dine in. Dining in can help you better manage what you eat and how meals are prepared.
  • Opt for healthy options when dining out. Choose a salad or other light option when you eat out. Also, steer clear of all-you-can-eat and buffet lunches.
  • Limit your portions. A simple step that can help you limit your portions is using a smaller plate.
  • Take just one serving. Put enough on your plate the first time so you won’t be tempted to take more.
  • Wait at least 20 minutes before going back for a second helping. It takes 20 minutes for your stomach to signal your brain that you’re no longer hungry.
  • Avoid the dessert aisle. Instead, stock up your shopping cart with fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Color your plate. Fill up half your plate with fresh vegetables of various colors.
  • Avoid fat- and sugar-heavy processed foods. Opt for fruit-based desserts and make your own salad dressing with lemon juice and olive oil.