Dietary Tips for Those with Osteoarthritis

Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the important components of managing or preventing osteoarthritis. If you are overweight, it is important to lose weight as this will significantly reduce the stress on hip and knee joint. Eating a balanced diet that is low in saturated fat, sugar and salt, but high in omega-3 (from fish and other oils), fruit, vegetables and dairy product is good for most people.

Include All Food Groups for a Healthy Diet

Fruit and vegetable
Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables every day. Eat at least five servings of fruit and vegetable daily, including green leafy vegetables such as spinach, lettuce or kale.

Whole Grains
Your daily meals should also include whole grains that are high in fibre, which is a better choice than refined grains. Choose whole-grain bread instead of white bread, brown rice instead of white rice, whole grain pasta instead of refined pasta.

Include both animal-based protein (poultry, seafood and fish) and plant-based protein (legume, nut and seed) into your diet. Choose lean cuts of white meat, poultry and seafood instead of processed meat or red meat. Consume fish more frequently, if possible daily. Healthy cooking method such as steaming, grilling or baking poultry and fish can reduce the amount of fat and oil used in your diet.

Dairy Product
Calcium-rich dairy products are important in a healthy diet. Choose low-fat milk, cheese and yogurt. Besides that, replace sweetened condensed milk with unsweetened liquid or powdered milk.

Limit Bad Fats

Saturated Fats
Saturated fat is usually solid at room and refrigerator temperatures. It is found in foods such as meat, poultry with the skin, whole-milk dairy products, are linked with the creation of cholesterol.

Trans Fats
Another type of fat, known as trans fats, raises your LDL cholesterol ("bad") levels and lowers the HDL cholesterol ("good") levels. Sources of trans fats are stick margarine, baked products such as pastries, cookies, doughnuts and biscuit, and foods fried in hydrogenated shortening, such as French fries and chicken. Look for the words “no trans fats” on food labels before purchasing.

Reduce Salt or Sodium Intake
Salt which can elevate blood pressure is found primarily in processed food and condiments. Limit salt intake to one teaspoon a day.

Cut Sugar Consumption
Sugars, whether added to coffee or tea, are empty calories, with no nutritional value, and add calories to your daily total. Choose water or unsweetened coffee or tea instead of fruit juice, soft drink, and other sugar sweetened beverage.

Food & Supplement Choices to Help Ease Osteoarthritis Pain
There are certain foods & supplements that could help reduce joint inflammation and joint painarising from osteoarthritis. Here are some food & supplement choices that may be helpful:

Fatty fish high in Omega-3
Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel are well known source of Omega-3, which help fight inflammation. A study in Advances in Therapy found participants with moderate-to-severe hip or knee osteoarthritis who received 1,500 mg of glucosamine sulfate along with 200 mg of Omega-3 had greater pain reduction and fewer osteoarthritis symptoms (morning stiffness, pain in hips and knees) than those who took glucosamine by itself. Try adding fish to your diet a couple of times a week. If you’re not a big fan of fish, an Omega-3 supplement is a good alternative for optimal intake of Omega-3.

Tumeric has been used for ages to treat inflammatory conditions such as osteoarthritis. Tumeric contains a compound called curcumin. A 2012 review published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences showed that curcumin could be beneficial in the management of chronic inflammatory-related joint disease, including osteoarthritis.

The anti-inflammatory action is due to inhibition of Nuclear Factor-Kappa Beta (NF-κB). NF-κB acts as a switch to turn inflammation on and off in the body. Curcumin was shown to reduce effective as a popular drug, Celecoxib, a cox-2 inhibitor. This finding is important because cox-2 inhibitors have adverse side effects. If you combine the treatment with curcumin you could reduce the dose of the drug and lessen its side-effects.

Vitamin C
Research found that antioxidants in Vitamin C may slow the progression of osteoarthritis. According to 2011 study published in Public Nutrition Health reported that people who took Vitamin C supplements were 11% less likely to develop knee osteoarthritis than those who didn’t take the supplements. Fruits that are rich in Vitamin C include orange, kiwi, pineapple, or papaya.


  1. Healthy Eating for Osteoarthritis
  2. Taking control of your osteoarthritis page 15.
  3. Malaysian Dietary Guideline.
  4. Six Food Choices To Help Ease Arthritis Pain
  5. Lev-Ari S, Strier L, Kazanov D, Elkayam O, Lichtenberg D, Caspi D, Arber N. Curcumin synergistically potentiates the growth inhibitory and ro-apoptotic effects of celecoxib in osteoarthritis synovial adherent cells. Rheumatology (Oxford). 2006;45:171–7.
  6. Mobasheri A, Henrotin Y, Biesalski HK, Shakibaei M. Scientific evidence and rationale for the development of curcumin and resveratrol as nutraceutricals for joint health. Int J Mol Sci. 2012;13:4202–32.
  7. The effects of vitamin C supplementation on incident and progressive knee osteoarthritis: a longitudinal study. Public Health Nutr. 2010. Department of Epidemiology, College of Public Health, University of South Florida, Clearwater, FL, USA.