Knee pain while climbing stairs is often the first sign of osteoarthritis (OA), according to a 2015 University of Leeds study. Your MD may prescribe physical therapy or show you some exercises to do at home—and recommend a more joint-friendly diet. Certain foods protect against arthritis, while others can worsen it. Keep these picks and skips in mind the next time you hit the grocery store.
Best: Low-fat milk
A study at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston found that the more low-fat or fat-free milk women drink, the slower their progression of knee osteoarthritis.
Folks who drank four to six glasses a week were less likely to get knee OA, according to a recent U.K. study. One theory credits wine’s antioxidants.
It contains a compound that helps lower the levels of inflammatory enzymes in the body, similar to the way some NSAIDs work.
Best: Fatty fish
Best: Cherry juice
Drinking two cups of tart cherry juice daily reduced inflammation in the body, helping ease OA symptoms, per a 2012 Oregon Health & Science University study.
The Brigham and Women’s Hospital study reported that eating cheese could speed up the progression of knee OA, possibly due to its high fat content.
Women who had one sugary soft drink a day were at higher risk of developing RA than those who skipped it, found a 2014 Harvard study.
The more you drink, the greater your odds of knee or hip osteoarthritis, per the U.K. study. It could be the extra pressure on joints from the dreaded “beer belly”.
The high amount of saturated fat in this Sunday breakfast favorite causes inflammation in your body, which can worsen arthritis.
Worst: Trans fat
Found in many baked goods, chips and fried foods, it’s a double whammy on your joints, triggering inflammation and weight gain.
More from Health.com:
- 10 Exercises for Healthy Knees
- 13 Ways Inflammation Can Affect Your Health
- 22 Worst Foods for Trans Fat