4 Foods that May Help Fight Knee Osteoarthritis
While there are plenty of reasons to include more nutritious foods in your diet — to feel your best, to help maintain a healthy weight — some foods contain antioxidants that are beneficial for knee osteoarthritis. The following vitamins have been studied for their relationship to osteoarthritis of the knee, and the results indicate that the foods you eat can make a difference for both your knees and your body.
#1 - Almonds
Vitamin E is known for its strong antioxidant powers. A study (International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases, 2009) compared the knees of 42 people undergoing knee surgery: 32 with severe osteoarthritis and 10 with non-arthritis injuries. Researchers found less vitamin E in the knees of the osteoarthritis patients, implying that they were getting less of the vitamin’s protective benefits. Almonds, sunflower seeds and oil, safflower oil, hazelnuts, peanuts and spinach are all excellent sources of vitamin E.
#2 - Salmon
Vitamin D is found in cells throughout the body. A study (Journal of Clinical Rheumatology, 2009) of 1,248 people age 55 and older looked at how their knee health changed over a period of about seven years. Those with a low amount of vitamin D in their diet were at increased risk for worsening knee osteoarthritis. Fatty fish — such as salmon, tuna and mackerel — are good sources of this vitamin. It’s also added to vitamin D fortified milk, yogurt, orange juice and cereal.
#3 - Oranges
Vitamin C is well known as an essential nutrient. One study (Arthritis Research and Therapy, 2007) looked at 293 healthy, middle-aged adults. Knee MRIs performed 10 years apart showed that people who reported consuming less vitamin C had more change in their leg bones — thought to be a precursor to the cartilage loss that marks knee osteoarthritis. Oranges, bell peppers, grapefruit, strawberries and broccoli all contain vitamin C.
#4 - Spinach
Vitamin K may not get as much attention, but some research indicates that lack of sufficient vitamin K may contribute to osteoarthritis of the knee. In one study (Journal of Orthopaedic Science, 2009), a low intake of vitamin K was associated with a greater risk of knee osteoarthritis in 719 people age 60 and older. Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, kale, turnip and mustard greens, collards and Swiss chard are high in this vitamin.
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PLEASE NOTE: The studies and their findings that are presented in this article are for informational purposes only and are not meant to take the place of the advice of your doctor. By providing you with this information, Genzyme Corporation is not endorsing its content. You should consult with your doctor before starting any new health regimen.
“Association of Low Dietary Vitamin K Intake With Radiographic Knee Osteoarthritis in the Japanese Elderly Population: Dietary Survey in a Population-Based Cohort of the ROAD Study.” H. Oka et al. Journal of Orthopaedic Science. 2009, vol. 14, pp. 687-692.
“Effect of Antioxidants on Knee Cartilage and Bone in Healthy, Middle-Aged Subjects: A Cross-Sectional Study.” Y. Wang et al. Arthritis Research and Therapy. 2007, vol. 9, art. R66.
“Lipid Peroxidation, Glutathione, Vitamin E, and Antioxidant Enzymes in Synovial Fluid From Patients With Osteoarthritis.” W. Sutipornpalangkul et al. International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases. 2009, vol. 12, pp. 324-328.
“Low Vitamin K Status Is Associated With Osteoarthritis in the Hand and Knee.” T. Neogi et al. Arthritis & Rheumatism. 2006, vol. 54, pp. 1255-1261.
“Serum Levels of Vitamin D, Sunlight Exposure, and Knee Cartilage Loss in Older Adults: The Tasmanian Older Adult Cohort Study.” C. Ding et al. Arthritis & Rheumatism. 2009, vol. 60, pp. 1381-1389.
“Vitamin D Status, Bone Mineral Density, and the Development of Radiographic Osteoarthritis of the Knee: The Rotterdam Study.” A.P. Bergink et al. Journal of Clinical Rheumatology. 2009, vol. 15, pp. 230-237.