3 Foods to Fight Knee Pain

Add these foods to your diet to reduce inflammation in your knees without drugs.

By Janis Graham from Reader's Digest | December 2009
Food for Bad KneesFOODANDDRINK PHOTOS / AGE FOTOSTOCK

Millions of people have stiff, painful knees thanks to osteoarthritis. Remedies range from keeping active and dropping excess weight to steroid injections and even surgery. But research shows that you can take a tastier route to improvement.

     

  • 1

    Soy


    People with knee pain reported less discomfort and used fewer pain meds after eating soy protein every day for three months, according to Oklahoma State University research. Soy is rich in isoflavones, plant hormones with anti-inflammatory properties. Study participants consumed a powdered soy drink mix that contained 40 grams of protein, but, says study author Bahram H. Arjmandi, PhD, you can get the same benefit from sources like flavored soy milk, edamame (baby soybeans), and soy burgers.

  • 2

    Fruit


    In a study of 293 Australian adults, eating plenty of fruit reduced the risk of developing bone marrow lesions—a marker for worsening knee osteoarthritis and pain. The knee-friendliest fruits appear to be vitamin C–packed ones, like kiwi, orange, mango, grapefruit, and papaya. The researchers suspect it’s the vitamin C in fruit that protects the knee joint and supporting structures.

  • 3

    Fish


    Many studies have found that fish and fish oil ease the joint pain and stiffness of rheumatoid arthritis. Now a study shows that the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish may block not only the chemicals that cause inflammation in osteoarthritis but also the proteins known to wear down knee cartilage. Eat two servings of oily fish (such as mackerel or salmon) weekly or take one gram of omega-3s in capsule form every day, says nutrition researcher Artemis P. Simopoulos, MD.