The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis, a bone disease damaging the spongy tissue called cartilage that covers a joint. As cartilage wears away, bones in a joint rub against one another causing pain, inflammation, and stiffness. This degenerative disease impacts nearly 30 million people across the U.S.
When searching for an Anti-arthritis Diet, pseudo-science abounds: avoid nightshade vegetables, like tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers; stay away from dairy foods; avoid acidic foods and beverages, but drink apple cider vinegar—which is acidic. Instead of relying on unsubstantiated claims, let’s examine foods active against the inflammation and pain related to osteoarthritis.
The key foods to help control inflammation within the body and brain are fish, the oil from fish, the olive, olive oil, the avocado (and its oil). Additionally, all plant foods have some anti-inflammatory power. The highly-acclaimed Mediterranean Diet is an excellent example of anti-inflammatory foods active against osteoarthritis.
Within Mediterranean cuisine, adequate amounts of Vitamin K and Vitamin D show promise against osteoarthritis. Vitamin K is an essential, fat-soluble nutrient found in leafy green vegetables, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. The key food sources of Vitamin D are fatty fish, fish oil, and eggs. When possible, these vitamins should be obtained from food. It is not recommended to take supplements with more than the recommended amount of Vitamin K and Vitamin D, in hopes of enhancing protection against osteoarthritis or its progression.
Note: Vitamin K is a key factor in blood clotting. Persons taking an anti-coagulant (blood thinner) need to consult their physicians regarding the intake of foods high in Vitamin K.
In conclusion, work against osteoarthritis every day. You can’t beat the combination of a healthy Anti-arthritis Diet, a “can do” attitude about movement, and adequate sleep.
Dr. Laura Pawlak (Ph.D., R.D. emerita) is a world-renown biochemist and dietitian emerita. She is the author of many scientific publications and has written such best-selling books as “The Hungry Brain,” “Life Without Diets,” and “Stop Gaining Weight.” On the subjects of nutrition and brain science, she gives talks internationally.