What Foods Can You Eat to Strengthen the Knees?

The largest joint in your body is also one of the most easily injured, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Your knee and the areas around it play a key role in daily activity. That's why exercising and eating the right food for knee strengthening is key to optimal health.

There are no specific foods that will strengthen your knees. But eating foods with omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce inflammation. Credit: gbh007/iStock/GettyImages

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There are no specific foods that will strengthen your knees. But eating foods with omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce inflammation while eating foods containing vitamin C, zinc and copper can help with the formation of collagen, a major component of knee cartilage.

Common Knee Problems

Inflammation and pain in your knees can result from health issues like diabetes, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, tendon or ligament injuries, bursitis, plica syndrome and more. To treat these issues, the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease, says your doctor may recommend medicines to reduce pain and swelling, weight loss, physical therapy, exercises to strengthen the muscles, rest, a cast, brace or surgery.

While several of those methods are medical interventions, there are also a few lifestyle modifications you may want to consider, such as weight loss and exercise. Eating a healthy diet that includes food for knee strengthening while participating in aerobic and resistance training exercises to boost overall knee health, can help reduce pain and inflammation associated with osteoarthritis and other health issues, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Read more: Bad Knees? Try These 14 Knee-Strengthening Exercises.

Osteoarthritis diet and exercise guidelines generally include losing weight, if you are overweight, and participating in low-impact exercises such as walking or water aerobics to help increase your endurance and strengthen the muscles around the joint. These lifestyle changes, in combination with other recommendations from your doctor or physical therapist, may help lessen the joint pain and stiffness associated with osteoarthritis.

When it comes to eating for weight loss, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends following a diet that includes fruits, vegetables, lean protein, complex carbohydrates, low-fat dairy options and healthy fats.

Food for Knee Strengthening

Unfortunately, there is no one best food for knee strength. However, you can make changes to your diet that may help improve your health and reduce inflammation and pain in your knees. A great place to start for both weight loss and dietary modifications is to consider including food for knee pain relief and food for knee strengthening.

Foods high in vitamin C, which is important in the formation of collagen, a major component of knee cartilage, include broccoli, red and green peppers, citrus fruits, tomatoes and greens, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Additionally, they suggest eating foods high in the minerals zinc and copper which are also required in the process of collagen formation. Some good sources include meats, shellfish, nuts, whole grains and beans.

Finally, your body can't produce more collagen without protein-rich foods. Make sure your diet has plenty of fish, chicken, beans, eggs and low-fat dairy products.

Read more: Fish Oil Dosage for Adults

In order to improve the strength of your knees, which includes the muscles, ligaments and tendons surrounding the joint, it's helpful to reduce pain and inflammation. Food for knee joints and ligaments that are considered anti-inflammatory, according to Harvard Health, include tomatoes, olive oil, green leafy vegetables, nuts like almonds and walnuts, fatty fish, and fruits such as berries and oranges.

Olive oil, fatty fish and nuts all contain omega-3 fatty acids. Both Harvard Health and the Mayo Clinic point to studies that suggest taking fish oil supplements, which is a dietary source of omega-3 fatty acids, might help reduce pain and inflammation in areas such as the knees. While the research mostly pertains to supplements, eating foods rich in omega-3s have other health benefits such as helping to prevent heart disease.

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