12 Best Foods For Patients With Arthritis

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Stages Of Knee Osteoarthritis
Stages Of Knee Osteoarthritis. Illustration © AdobeStock 71592609 (under license).

Arthritis is one of the most difficult health conditions to manage because it affects the way a person moves and performs their day to day activities. While arthritis cannot be completely cured, it can be managed with the right lifestyle choices. According to recent scientific studies, choosing the right food to include in your diet my help reduce inflammation and improve mobility. Here are 12 foods that research has indicated may have beneficial effects.

#1: Pineapples
Coaches all over the world are encouraging their athletes to eat or drink pineapple to speed up muscle recovery. This is because of bromelain, a protease found in pineapples, which promotes reduction of inflammation – which means it should have benefits for people afflicted with arthritis as well. [1]

#2: Bananas
Bananas have similar anti-inflammatory characteristic as pineapples. When ingested pre-exercise, bananas have been found able to reduce muscle inflammation, improving mobility. [2] Likewise, bananas are high in both magnesium and potassium, nutrients that contribute to bone development.

#3: Blueberries
Beyond blueberries’ potent antioxidant and immune boosting capabilities, the fruit is also able to modulate inflammation caused by the body’s cytokines. Because arthritis is an autoimmune disorder, eating blueberries may help prevent the body’s immune system from damaging itself. [3]

#4: Shellfish
Glucosamine supplements are very popular to manage knee pain caused by osteoarthritis. Shellfish – such as shrimp and lobsters – are rich in glucosamine, which studies have shown may help reduce joint pain caused by arthritis. [4][5]

#5: Salmon
Certain substances found in salmon like proteoglycan and calcitonin have been found by researchers to fight arthritis by reducing its damaging effects on the joints. Researchers found that both these substances reduced joint inflammation and moderate the inflammation-causing cytokines in the body. [6][7]

#6: Tofu and Soy Products
Tofu and soy products are not only an excellent source of protein (which can help mobilize muscle development), but there is recent evidence to suggest that they may be able to delay the onset of rheumatoid arthritis but reducing cartilage erosion and joint inflammation. [8]

#7: Whole Grains
Whole grains have been found to lower the levels of c-reactive protein in the body. C-reactive protein is a substance which has been found to be a cause of inflammation. [9]

#8: Vitamin C
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is a popular immune-boosting supplement but a recent study has also demonstrated potential to prevent incident knee osteoarthritis. While the exact mechanisms are still unknown, the research has indicated that vitamin C may be beneficial in the management of arthritis. [10]

#9: Green Tea
Not only is green tea a good way to relax, distress, and detox, a new scientific study found improvements in arthritis symptoms – from joint inflammation to changes in the make-up of our lymph nodes. [11]

#10: Peanut Butter
Forget the myth that peanuts cause you to gain weight! They are actually a good source of antioxidants and energy, both of which may help in weight loss. This is quite beneficial to people affected by arthritis who need to manage their weight. [12] Make your own PB from unsalted peanuts to control the salt content!

#11: Turmeric
The next time you pick up a spice to add to your dish, try some turmeric! This spice has very potent anti-oxidant, antibiotic, and anti-inflammatory properties. In scientific study it was found to alleviate the symptoms of arthritis better than medications and other plants. [13]

#12: Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is a popular choice by most health-conscious chefs all over the world. Because it is good for the heart, it has become quite popular among a variety of cultures as well. A 2014 study actually discovered how EVOO has joint-protective and anti-inflammatory effects that fight arthritis. Note that olive oil is best used for salads and other low-heat or no-heat culinary applications as it is damaged by high heat, creating less healthy components in the oil.


[1] Shing, C., et. al. (2015). Acute protease supplementation effects on muscle damage and recovery across consecutive days of cycle racing. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25604346

[2] Nieman, D., et. al. (2012). Bananas as an energy source during exercise: a metabolomics approach. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22616015

[3] Cheng, A., et. al. (2014). Polyphenols from blueberries modulate inflammation cytokines in LPS-induced RAW264.7 macrophages. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24905959

[4] Fransen, M., et. al. (2015). Glucosamine and chondroitin for knee osteoarthritis: a double-blind randomised placebo-controlled clinical trial evaluating single and combination regimens. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24395557

[5] Mayo Clinic. Glucosamine. https://mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/glucosamine/safety/hrb-20059572

[6] Ryan, S., et. al. (2013). An intra-articular salmon calcitonin-based nanocomplex reduces experimental inflammatory arthritis. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23391443

[7] Yoshimura, S., Asano, K., & Nakane, A. (2014). Attenuation of collagen-induced arthritis in mice by salmon proteoglycan. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25032213

[8] Shahi, M., et. al. (2012). Protective effect of soy protein on collagen-induced arthritis in rat. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21681567

[9] WebMD. 4 Foods to Fight Rheumatoid Arthritis Inflammation. https://webmd.com/rheumatoid-arthritis/guide/ra-foods?page=2

[10] Peregoy, J. & Wilder, F. (2011). The effects of vitamin C supplementation on incident and progressive knee osteoarthritis: a longitudinal study. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20707943

[11] Ramadan, G., et. al. (2015). Anti-inflammatory activity of green versus black tea aqueous extract in a rat model of human rheumatoid arthritis. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25964045

[12] Blomhoff, R., et. al. (2006). Health benefits of nuts: potential role of antioxidants. https://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=996644&fileId=S000711450600359X

[13] Ramadan, G., Al-Kahtani, M. & El-Sayed, W. (2011). Anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties of Curcuma longa (turmeric) versus Zingiber officinale (ginger) rhizomes in rat adjuvant-induced arthritis. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21120596

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