Increase Fruit and Vegetable Intake to Reduce Knee Pain

Increase Fruit and Vegetable Intake to Reduce Knee Pain

Knee pain is one of the most common ailments among older adults and a common symptom of knee osteoarthritis. A recent study published in the Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging found that the severity of knee pain decreased significantly with increasing fruit and vegetable intake.

The study included 6,588 adults from the 2010-11 Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Severity of knee pain was measured using a 10-point numeric rating scale. The results showed that an increase in fruit and vegetable consumption was positively associated with a decreased prevalence of severe knee pain.

Fruits are loaded with antioxidants, fiber, minerals, vitamins and other nutrients. Some help by reducing the inflammation that affects people with arthritis.

The Arthritis Foundation recommends that tart cherries, strawberries, red raspberries, avocados, watermelon and grapes offer the best protection against inflammation and knee pain for arthritis sufferers.

As far as vegetables are concerned, going green, yellow and orange offer the best protection for your joints. During the metabolic process, harmful byproducts called free radicals are produced which can damage cells. Free radicals also contribute to the inflammation of joints, as well as the development of rheumatoid arthritis. Dark green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, kale, spinach, Brussels sprouts, Swiss chard and bok choy are loaded with antioxidants that protect cells from free radical damage. Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and bok choy) offer another benefit — a natural compound called sulforaphane which helps block the inflammatory process and may deter cartilage damage in osteoarthritis.

Other protective vegetables recommended by the Arthritis Foundation include sweet potatoes, red peppers, squash, carrots, green peppers, onions, garlic, leeks, olives and shallots.

The Arthritis Foundation offers a comprehensive list of foods that can help reduce inflammation and knee pain due to osteoarthritis. Their top choices include:

• Fish: particularly tuna, salmon, mackerel and herring for their omega-3 fatty acids;

• Soybeans: tofu or edamame contain an abundance of omega-3 fatty acids;

• Extra virgin olive oil: contains oleocanthal, which has anti-inflammatory properties similar to non-steroidal drugs (also walnut oil, which has 10 times the omega-3 fatty acids as olive oil);

• Low fat dairy products: milk, yogurt and cheese increase bone strength, also contain vitamin D for calcium absorption and increased immune system function;

• Green tea: contains antioxidants that reduce inflammation and slow cartilage destruction;

• Whole grains: produce lower levels of C-reactive protein in the blood, which decrease inflammation;

• Beans: particularly red, kidney and pinto help to lower C-reactive protein.

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