The right diet is the key to managing many diseases and to improving general quality of life. For this condition, scientific research has found benefit in the following healthy eating tips.
- If other therapies are unsuccessful in relieving symptoms, talk to your doctor about identifying and eliminating possible food allergies.
Most of the studies linking allergies to joint disease have focused on rheumatoid arthritis, although mention of what was called “rheumatism” in older reports (some of which may have been OA) suggests a possible link between food reactions and aggravations of OA symptoms.126 If other therapies are unsuccessful in relieving symptoms, people with OA might choose to discuss food allergy identification and elimination with a physician.
- A diet free of meat, poultry, dairy, chemicals, sugar, eggs, and processed foods has helped people with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis in anecdotal reports. Work with a specialist to ensure healthy nutrition.
In the 1950s through the 1970s, Dr. Max Warmbrand used a diet free of meat, poultry, dairy, chemicals, sugar, eggs, and processed foods for people with rheumatoid arthritis and OA, anecdotally claiming significant success.127 He reported that clinical results took at least six months to develop. The Warmbrand diet has never been properly tested in clinical research. Moreover, although the diet is healthful and might reduce the risk of being diagnosed with many other diseases, it is difficult for most people to follow. This difficulty, plus the lack of published research, leads many doctors who are aware of the Warmbrand diet to use it only if other approaches have failed.
- Abstain from eating tomatoes, white potatoes, peppers (except black pepper), and eggplant, which contain solanine, a substance that may contribute to osteoarthritis.
Solanine is a substance found in nightshade plants, including tomatoes, white potatoes, all peppers (except black pepper), and eggplant. In theory, if not destroyed in the intestine, solanine may be toxic. One horticulturist hypothesized that some people might not be able to destroy solanine in the gut, leading to solanine absorption and resulting in OA. This theory has not been proven. However, eliminating solanine from the diet has been reported to bring relief to some arthritis sufferers in preliminary research.128,129 In a survey of people avoiding nightshade plants, 28% claimed to have a “marked positive response” and another 44% a “positive response.” Researchers have never put this diet to a strict clinical test; however, the treatment continues to be used by some doctors with patients who have OA. As with the Warmbrand diet, proponents claim exclusion of solanine requires up to six months before potential effects may be seen. Totally eliminating tomatoes and peppers requires complex dietary changes for most people. In addition, even proponents of the diet acknowledge that many arthritis sufferers are not helped by using this approach. Therefore, long-term trial avoidance of solanine-containing foods may be appropriate only for people with OA who have not responded to other natural treatments.