Make smart food choices to help ease joint pain.

With inflammation being one of the common symptoms of some types of arthritis, what you eat can play an impactful role in how you feel. From fats to fish and vegetables to bread, certain foods can lessen the swelling and stiffness of arthritis, and others can make it worse.

Multiple studies have reported that eating foods rich in vitamin C and other essential nutrients can help ease inflammation, reduce pain, and protect against the progression of cartilage damage associated with osteo and rheumatoid arthritis.

Here are 5 healthy eating tips to support joint health:

  1. Get your vitamin C – Vitamin C is essential for reducing inflammation and maintaining healthy joints. During Summer, it’s easy to get vitamin C from the variety of fresh fruits widely available. Whether from your local farmers market or the grocery store, choose favorites such as watermelon, oranges, cantaloupe, strawberries, blueberries, and cherries.
  2. Eat your vegetables  Vegetables also have high levels of vitamin C and anti-inflammatory compounds that may help reduce inflammation.  Spinach, kale, peppers, broccoli, peas, tomatoes, beets, and avocados are all good foods to include in an anti-inflammatory diet. Summer is a great time to incorporate them into your daily menu.
  3. Minimize processed carbohydrates – White bread, white rice, instant mashed potatoes, and French fries can make inflammation worse. These foods go through a refining process that forms high levels of chemicals called advanced glycation end products, which are known to contribute to inflammation. Instead choose whole grain alternatives such as whole grain breads, oatmeal, brown rice or quinoa.
  4. Include fish in your menu – Fatty fish, like tuna, salmon, and mackerel, contain healthy, anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. Some experts say people with arthritis should be eating fish 2 to 4 times a week. Other omega-3 rich foods include flaxseeds and canola oil.
  5. Reduce sugar intake – Although they taste great, chocolate bars and other sugary snacks can actually increase inflammation. The root culprit is processed sugar, not the chocolate itself. Limit foods that list sugar or any item that ends in “ose” (like fructose or sucrose) in the ingredients.

If you have pain, swelling or stiffness in your joints, it might be time to talk to a doctor. To find an orthopedic provider near you, visit