Diane May Nutrition Blog

How Food Can Help Arthritic Joints

June 2nd, 2021

Over 3 million Americans suffer from Arthritis. Food can play a major role in either helping or harming the bodies response to arthritis. According to the CDC, arthritis means inflammation or swelling of one or more joints. It describes more than 100 conditions that affect the joints, tissues around the joint, and other connective tissues. Specific symptoms vary depending on the type of arthritis, but usually include joint pain and stiffness.  The diet most studied in regard to inflammation and joint pain is the Mediterranean Diet. This plan prioritizes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, healthy fats and fish, while limiting, red meat, processed foods and sugar.

There are foods to increase better joint health and foods to reduce:

Foods to increase:

  • Fish high in Omega 3 fatty acid such as salmon, tuna, mackeral, scallops and sardines. Omega 3 fatty acid can help to reduce inflammation. Aim for at least two servings a week.
  • Dark leafy greens such as kale, collards, spinach and bok choy are loaded with phytonutrients and can improve immune function.
  • Research has shown that anthocyanins found in cherries and other red and purple fruits like strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries have an anti-inflammatory effect.  
  • Green tea can reduce the rate of cartilage damage and inflammation.
  • Nuts and seeds have high levels of Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) which is another form of Omega 3 as well as healthy monounsaturated fat. 
  • Beans are loaded with fiber and phytonutrients, which help lower CRP, an indicator of inflammation found in the blood.

Foods to avoid:

  • Sugar triggers the release of inflammatory messengers called cytokines.
  • Saturated fats and trans fat trigger fat tissue inflammation. Saturated and trans fat are found in foods such as butter, coconut oil, palm kernal oil, fried foods, partially hydrogenated oils, red meat, frozen foods such as pizza and full fat dairy. 
  • Have Omega 6 oils such as corn, safflower, sunflower, grapeseed, soy and peanut as well as mayo and most salad dressings in moderation.
  • Refined white carbs such as white flour, pasta and processed white potatoes. They can release advanced glycation end products (AGE) that can stimulate inflammation.
  • MSG, a chemical found in certain foods, can trigger chronic inflammation and harm the liver.

There are also some supplements for joint pain. They do not work for everyone and more research is needed. Most of these supplements work only slightly better than a placebo. Always talk to your physician before taking a new supplement, this is very important.

  • Glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin 500 mg 3x/day, 400-800 mg 2-3x/day
  • Sam-e 1.200 mg 
  • Curcumin-Should be taken with a fat source for better absorption 5oo mg 2x/day
  • Fish oil 300-1000 mg
  • Vitamin D3 800-1000 IU

Joint pain can impact the quality of life and the right diet can help improve the pain associated with arthritis. You can always reach ouyt to your RD to create a plan thats right for you!


We give this classic summer soup a protein-packed upgrade by pairing it with skewers of grilled scallops seasoned with citrusy compound butter. Make a little extra to spread on grilled bread to serve alongside.


Joy Howard

EatingWell Magazine, July/August 2021

Recipe Summary

Active: 40 mins
Total: 40 mins
Servings: 4


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Combine tomatoes, bell pepper, cucumber, onion, cilantro, garlic, vinegar, salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a blender. Pulse until finely chopped. Transfer 1 cup of the mixture to a large bowl. Add bread and oil to the blender and blend until smooth. Transfer to the bowl, stir, cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

  • When ready to serve, preheat grill to medium-high.

  • Thread scallops onto 8 skewers. Season with the remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Grill, flipping once, until opaque in the center, about 5 minutes.

  • Combine butter and lime zest in a small bowl and brush the hot scallops with the mixture. Serve the gazpacho with the scallops.


Eight 6-inch skewers


As their names suggest, small bay scallops are found in shallow waters whereas large sea scallops are found deeper in the ocean. The larger version is best for skewering and grilling.  Farmed scallops are the most sustainable; look for Marine Stewardship Council certification on wild scallops to ensure they’re harvested using eco-friendly practices.

To make ahead

Refrigerate gazpacho (Step 1) for up to 2 days.

Nutrition Facts



313 calories; fat 14g; cholesterol 49mg; sodium 763mg; carbohydrates 24g; dietary fiber 5g; protein 21g; sugars 9g; niacin equivalents 3mg; saturated fat 5g; vitamin a iu 3367IU; potassium 877mg.