Eat Grapes — Your Knees Will Thank You

Eating grapes may help reduce the pain of knee osteoarthritis and improve joint flexibility. The beneficial effect comes from the polyphenols in grapes.

That’s the finding of a 16-week study of 72 men and women with OA who were assigned to consume grapes in the form of a whole grape freeze-dried powder, or a placebo powder.

Both men and women consuming a grape-enriched diet had a significant decrease in self-reported pain related to activity and an overall decrease in total knee symptoms. This beneficial effect was more pronounced in females.

But evidence of increased cartilage metabolism was observed only in men consuming the grape-enriched diet; they had higher levels of an important cartilage growth factor (IGF-1) than those on placebo. This protective effect was not observed in the females.

Also, age-related differences were observed: there was a 70 percent increase in very hard activity for those under 64 years of age consuming the grape powder, while those receiving the placebo reported a significant decrease in very hard activity. Participants over 65 years, whether consuming grapes or the placebo, reported a decline in moderate to hard activities.

Researchers from Texas Woman’s University presented the results at an Experimental Biology conference in San Diego, California.

“These findings provide promising data that link grape consumption to two very important outcomes for those living with knee osteoarthritis: reduced pain and improvements in joint flexibility,” said researcher Shanil Juma. “More research is needed to better understand … the age and gender differences observed.”