Diet Myths

OA of the Knee and Diet Image

Is there a connection between what you eat and how your knees feel?

Many people swear that they can make their osteoarthritis (OA) better or worse, by changing what they eat. Foods that are sometimes thought to ease or aggravate OA symptoms include milk, wheat, meat, garlic, cherry juice and even gin-soaked raisins. In addition, sufferers often avoid eating nightshade vegetables, such as eggplant, potatoes, peppers, or tomatoes, believing they trigger symptoms.

The Skinny on Diet

Why do folks think food has an impact on OA? What may be going on, suggests the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter, is that as arthritis pain waxes and wanes, people blame or credit whatever they are eating (or not eating) at the time. In fact, notes John Hardin, M.D., chief scientific officer for the Arthritis Foundation, "Anecdotes are plentiful, but proof that diet affects OA pain is scarce."

What does exist is preliminary research that suggests antioxidants in fruits and vegetables may help prevent and slow the progression of osteoarthritis. But the only diet that's been proved to benefit OA is one that helps a person lose weight, if needed.

A registered dietitian (R.D.) can help you plan a healthy weight-loss diet. You can go online at to find one in your area.

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at

Published: 21 Feb 2010

Last Modified: 09 Oct 2014