The Role of Diet and Nutrition in Osteoarthritis Management
Posted on Mar 20, 2024

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative and inflammatory joint disease that primarily affects the joints in the fingers, hips, knees, and spine, causing pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility, especially in aging adults and postmenopausal women. “OA is the structural breakdown of the integrity of the cartilage over time,” explains Dr. Meredith Warner, a Baton Rouge-based orthopedic surgeon and inventor of The Healing Sole, a natural treatment for plantar fasciitis and foot pain.

OA is the most common cause of arthritis and has no cure. However, managing symptoms and slowing its progression can significantly improve quality of life. Among the various approaches to managing OA, diet and nutrition play a crucial role.

Maintaining a Healthy Weight

Excess weight puts added stress on weight-bearing joints such as the knees and hips, exacerbating symptoms and potentially accelerating joint degeneration. Adipose tissue also secretes inflammatory adipokines that further damage joints. In fact, the proinflammatory aspect of being overweight is one of the primary problems in terms of arthritis progression. A balanced diet that promotes weight loss or weight maintenance can reduce inflammatory damage to the joints, thereby alleviating pain and improving mobility.

Balanced Diet

Consuming a balanced diet rich in nutrients is essential for overall joint health. Nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats provide essential vitamins and minerals necessary for cartilage repair and maintenance. These same foods can provide necessary dietary fiber. Antioxidants found in colorful fruits and vegetables help reduce chronic, low-grade inflammation and oxidative stress, key contributors to OA progression.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Incorporating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids or its precursors, such as fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines), flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts, can help reduce inflammation and alleviate joint pain associated with OA. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, potentially slowing down the progression of OA.

Since it’s difficult to get adequate amounts from diet alone, it’s smart to supplement with a high-quality Omega-3 sourced from fish and algae. Omega-3 is a natural COX-1 and -2 inhibitor and works in the body in a similar way to NSAIDs but without the unpleasant and risky side effects.

Calcium and Vitamin D

Adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D is crucial for maintaining bone health, especially in individuals with OA who may be at higher risk of osteoporosis. Dairy products, leafy greens, fortified foods, and supplements can help ensure sufficient calcium and vitamin D intake, supporting bone strength and overall joint health. Also smart: a supplement containing turmeric, ginger, and PEA. The ingredients in Joint Health Multi work in tandem to deliver powerful anti-inflammatory and pain relief with an added antioxidant boost.

Limiting Certain Foods

Some foods may exacerbate inflammation and worsen OA symptoms. Processed foods, sugary snacks, refined carbohydrates, and saturated fats can contribute to inflammation and weight gain. Limiting these foods helps reduce inflammation and improve OA management.


Staying properly hydrated is essential for joint health. Water helps lubricate the joints, cushioning them during movement and reducing friction. Cartilage and other connective tissues are composed primarily of water. Aim for adequate daily hydration by drinking water and consuming hydrating foods such as fruits and vegetables.

Targeted Supplements

Dr. Meredith Warner carefully curated a line of supplements to combat joint-damaging inflammation.

Resveratrol is a powerful flavonoid (plant-based phytoestrogen) that reduces inflammation and boosts mitochondrial health and brain function.

Tart Cherry Extract is a potent natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant that works on the same pathways as NSAIDs without the risky and unpleasant side effects.

Dr. Meredith Warner challenges the traditional orthopedic approach to joint, bone, tendon, and ligament pain in her upcoming book, Bone on Bone- An Orthopedic Surgeon’s Guide to Avoiding Surgery and Healing Pain Naturally. A limited supply is now available for pre-order. Get your personalized, autographed copy only available for the first 50 book orders.