Stop Pain and Inflammation with THIS Diet

Stop Pain and Inflammation with THIS Diet

Osteoarthritis is a debilitating degenerative joint disease that affects millions of Canadians.  Osteoarthritis primarily affects cartilage, a cushion-like material between bones.  When the cartilage is healthy, joints move freely and without pain. In case of osteoarthritis, the cartilage progressively breaks down and causes pain and reduced mobility.  The cause of osteoarthritis is unknown but some common risk factors include age, trauma, obesity and nutrition.  Food plays an important role in keeping joints healthy. Changes in diet can reduce inflammation and progression of osteoarthritis. Also, reducing consumption of inflammatory foods can help with managing pain.

The Whole-Foods, Plant-Based Diet (WFPB)

The WFPB diet consists of unlimited amount of fruit, vegetables, legumes, grains, unrefined foods and excludes animal products.  A 2015 study has shown that patients with osteoarthritis experienced less joint pain after only two weeks on the diet!  As a desirable side-effect, participants also lost weight (1).

Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Anti-inflammatory foods act as natural painkillers and ease osteoarthritis pain symptoms. Some of these anti-inflammatory foods include: salmon, olive oil, fresh ginger, pineapple, tart cherries, thyme and red grapes (2).

Foods to Avoid

About 10% of individuals living with osteoarthritis have food sensitivity to the nightshade family.  Nightshades include potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, tobacco, and pepper. Eliminating these foods from the diet may improve osteoarthritis symptoms (3).

Nutritional Supplements

There are many supplements on the market for osteoarthritis.  Some nutritional supplements that are backed by science include:

Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate: Protect joint cartilage and delay osteoarthritis progression (4).

Avocado/soybean unsaponifiables: Helps to slow down progression of osteoarthritis and blocks inflammation (5).

Vitamin C: Low levels increase the risk of knee osteoarthritis, while high intake reduces both the progression and pain of knee osteoarthritis (6).

Vitamin D: Low intake of vitamin D is a possible risk factor for knee osteoarthritis. Food groups such as dairy, meat and poultry may be beneficial for knee osteoarthritis (7).

Vitamin K: Deficiency is associated with increased risk of developing osteoarthritis of knee. Further research is required to determine its use in osteoarthritis management (8).

In summary, nutrition is an important component of joint health. Research has shown that weight management, whole-foods plant-based diet, and various nutraceuticals are beneficial to patients living with osteoarthritis.

The content of this blog is for educational purpose only and is not a substitute for seeing your healthcare practitioner. Following any information or recommendations provided on this blog is at your own risk.

In Health,
Dr. Anna


  1. Clinton CM, O’Brien S, Law J, Renier CM, Wendt MR. Whole-Foods, Plant-Based Diet Alleviates the Symptoms of Osteoarthritis. Arthritis Volume 2015 (2015).
  2. Musumeci G, Mobasheri A, Trovato FM, Szychlinska MA, Imbesi R, Castrogiovanni P. Post-operative rehabilitation and nutrition in osteoarthritis.
  3. Prousky JE. The use of Niacinamide and Solanaceae (Nightshade) Elimination in the Treatment of Osteoarthritis. JOM, Vol 30, Number 1. 2015.
  4. Gallagher B, Tjoumakaris FP, Harwood MI, Good RP, Ciccotti MG, Freedman KB. Chondroprotection and the prevention of osteoarthritis progression of the knee: a systematic review of treatment agents. Am J Sports Med. Mar;43(3):734-44. 2015.
  5. Christiansen BA, Bhatti S, Goudarzi R, Emami S. Management of Osteoarthritis with Avocado/Soybean Unsaponifiables. Cartilage. Jan;6(1):30-44. 2015.
  6. McAlindon TE, Jacques P, Zhang Y, Hannan MT, Aliabadi P, Weissman B, Rush D, Levy D, Felson DT. Do antioxidant micronutrients protect against the development and progression of knee osteoarthritis? Arthritis Rheum. Apr; 39(4):648-56. 1996.
  7. Sanghi D, Mishra A, Sharma AC, Raj S, Mishra R, Kumari R, Natu SM, Agarwal S, Srivastava RN. Elucidation of dietary risk factors in osteoarthritis knee—a case-control study. J Am Coll Nutr. 34(1):15-20. 2015.
  8. Shea MK, Kritchevsky SB, Hsu FC, Nevitt M, Booth SL, Kwoh CK, McAlindon TE, Vermeer C, Drummen N, Harris TB, Womack C, Loeser RF.  The association between vitamin K status and knee osteoarthritis features in older adults: the Health, Aging and Body Composition Study. Health ABC Study. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. Mar;23(3):370-8. 2015.