Diet For Osteoarthritis

What is Osteoarthritis?

Doctors call osteoarthritis the excessive wear and tear of joint cartilage. They differentiate between silent and activated osteoarthritis.

  • Silent osteoarthritis is the hardly noticeable initial stage. It often begins around the age of 35. In the further course – more often from the age of 60 – pain sometimes occurs, which manifests itself primarily as start-up pain (when starting a movement) or stress pain (when loading a joint).
  • Activated osteoarthritis is what doctors call joint wear, which leads to more or less severe inflammation attacks. The attacks of inflammation are often associated with severely restricted mobility of the joints and feelings of tension. Sometimes the joints stiffen and deform.

Detailed Information About Osteoarthritis

Lost articular cartilage is irretrievably lost. He cannot reform himself. For more information on symptoms, causes, and treatment of excessive joint wear, see the disease picture osteoarthritis.

Basics Of Nutrition In Osteoarthritis

The basics of a healthy diet for osteoarthritis and the prevention of excessive cartilage wear can be easily summarized. If you eat a very varied and low-meat diet and replace industrial finished products with fresh foods, then you are doing a lot right. Because in this way you supply the organism with a multitude of nutrients. This diversity almost inevitably means that you supply the remaining cartilage with everything that is important. According to the unanimous opinion of medical research, food supplements are not useful. On the contrary, they can even do harm. More on this below.

Avoid And Reduce Excess Weight

At the same time, a fresh and varied diet is a very good basis for avoiding obesity or for shedding extra pounds. Reducing obesity is one of the basics of the osteoarthritis diet because every kilo too much puts unnecessary stress on the joints. In addition, there is no longer any doubt in medicine that fat cells release messenger substances that promote inflammation. Obesity, therefore, increases the risk that silent osteoarthritis will turn into activated osteoarthritis with significantly more stress symptoms.

Inhibit Inflammatory Processes From Food

Diet can promote or reduce inflammation. That depends on the choice of food. The post Diet for Rheumatoid Arthritis provides detailed information on which anti-inflammatory foods to prefer and which anti-inflammatory foods to avoid. 

Food Recommendations For Nutrition In Osteoarthritis

Nutritionists recommend a high-fiber diet with lots of fruit and vegetables to prevent or treat osteoarthritis. Meat and sausage products should therefore rarely be on the menu. Milk and dairy products as well as cold-water fish, on the other hand, should be an integral part of the osteoarthritis diet.

Diet For Osteoarthritis

Recommended Foods For Osteoarthritis

According to the NDR nutritional docs, the following are particularly recommended:

    • Bread, cereals, and side dishes (2 palm-sized portions/day): Whole grain bread; Oatmeal, muesli without sugar; Whole grain pasta, whole grain rice, jacket potatoes
    • Fruit (1-2 handfuls/day): all types of fruit that are low in sugar; in moderation high-sugar varieties such as pineapple, banana, pear, honeydew melon, persimmon (Sharon), mango, sweet cherry, and grapes
    • Vegetables (3 times 2 handfuls/day): all types of salad, preferably with bitter substances (chicory, dandelion), all types of cabbage, artichokes, fennel, cucumber, legumes, kohlrabi, carrots, radishes, sauerkraut, asparagus, spinach, zucchini and all types of mushrooms as well Herbs
    • Fats and oils (2 tbsp/day): chia oil, hemp oil, linseed oil, olive oil, rapeseed oil, walnut oil, wheat germ oil; little butter; for frying: coconut oil
    • Fish and seafood (2 servings/week): eel, trout, halibut, herring, cod, carp, salmon, mackerel, sardine/anchovies, plaice, sole, turbot; Shellfish like crayfish, shrimp, lobster, crab, shrimp
    • Sausage products and meat (1 to 2 servings/week, up to 100 g gross weight each): sliced ​​turkey breast, chicken; less often: beef fillet, veal, game; Corned beef
    • Eggs: max 2 to 3 weeks,
    • Milk and milk products, cheese in moderation (up to 300 ml daily): milk 1.5% fat, buttermilk, quark up to 20% fat, natural yogurt 1.5% fat; Harzer cheese, grainy cream cheese; rarely: cream, sour cream, crème fraîche; Cheese up to 45%: semi-hard cheese, soft cheese, feta, mozzarella, cream cheese
    • Nuts and seeds (approx. 1 handful/day): chia seeds; Cashew nuts, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, macadamia nuts, almonds, pine nuts, walnuts; in moderation: sunflower seeds
    • Snacks and nibbles: seldom dark chocolate with a cocoa content of 70 percent or more.
    • Drinks (approx. 2 liters/day): water, unsweetened tea, especially green tea, and herbal tea; up to three cups of coffee without milk.

Not Recommended Foods For Osteoarthritis

According to the NDR nutrition docs, it is better to avoid these foods if you have osteoarthritis:

    • Bread, cereals, and side dishes: croissants, crispbread, pretzels, milk rolls, toast bread, white bread, wheat rolls, rusks; peeled rice, durum wheat noodles, mashed potatoes, potato pancakes, croquettes, pancakes, french fries
    • Fruit: sugared canned fruit, candied dried fruit, and fruit puree
    • Vegetables: Only rarely use vegetable mixes with butter or cream
    • Fats and oils: safflower oil, goose lard, mayonnaise, palm fat, lard, sunflower oil
    • Fish and seafood: fish pickled in mayonnaise or cream, breaded fish
    • Charcuterie and meat: all charcuterie except turkey breast and chicken; generally no pork (due to the high content of arachidonic acid)
    • Eggs: max. 2 to 3 weeks
    • Milk and dairy products: no sweetened finished products such as fruit buttermilk, fruit yogurt, fruit quark, rice pudding, cocoa preparations, pudding
    • Nuts and seeds: no peanuts and salted nuts
    • Snacks and nibbles: no sweets such as chips, ice cream, savory biscuits, sweet baked goods, sweet dairy products
    • Drinks (approx. 2 liters/day): no fruit juices, soft drinks, soy drinks, or mixed milk drinks

Dietary Supplement Against Osteoarthritis

Most experts believe that dietary supplements against osteoarthritis are not useful, and sometimes even dangerous. Nonetheless, they are very good business for manufacturers. According to the health service provider IMS Health, Germans spend a good 100 million euros annually on supposed cartilage protection agents (so-called chondroprotective agents).

No Evidence Of The Effects Of Chondroitin, Glucosamine Or Hyaluronic Acid

Over-the-counter medicines and dietary supplements for osteoarthritis mainly contain substances such as chondroitin, glucosamine, and hyaluronic acid. The promise of the advertising: The chondroprotective are supposed to strengthen and protect the cartilage. Unfortunately, in the unanimous opinion of serious experts, this is an empty promise.

Chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine are important players in cartilage metabolism. After ingestion, however, they do not even reach the joints, but rather are destroyed in the gastrointestinal tract. According to independent studies available to date, chondroprotective are no more effective than products that do not contain active substances (placebos). This was confirmed, for example, by the American GAIT study (Glucosamine-Chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial, see sources) from 2010. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) found in 2009 that there was no positive effect of glucosamine alone or in combination with chondroitin sulfate would give the preservation of joints.

Dangerous Interactions Of Glucosamine

Rather, the ESA, together with the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (see sources), warns of dangerous interactions. According to this, drugs and food supplements containing glucosamine can increase the effect of anticoagulant drugs from the group of coumarin anticoagulants and, in the worst case, even cause cerebral hemorrhage.

Another example of undesirable effects of preparations containing glucosamine or chondroitin is allergic reactions. Many of these preparations are made from shellfish or fish proteins and can trigger allergic reactions up to anaphylactic shock.

Better Not To Take Vitamin And Mineral Supplements For Osteoarthritis

There are a large number of vitamins and minerals or trace element supplements that manufacturers claim to protect joints and cartilage. Common ingredients are, for example, vitamins A, C, and E or selenium. The Federal Association of Consumer Organizations has examined many dietary supplements. The result: there is therefore no positive effect on joints and cartilage (see sources). In addition, many dosages go well beyond the maximum recommended intake values. This in turn increases the risk of drug interactions or other complications.