9 Foods That Help Manage Osteoarthritis With Diet

9 Foods That Help Manage Osteoarthritis With Diet

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease affecting millions of people globally. Osteoarthritis is associated with the breakdown of a joint’s cartilage, the rubbery material that cushions the ends of the bones in most joints and is responsible for cushioning the joints and absorbing impact.

When the cartilage at the end of the bone wears away, bones could rub against each other, causing severe pain, a stiffness of the joints and reduced joint movement.

The most common joints involved are those in the hands, neck, lower back, hips, knees, shoulders, and ankles. Joints on one side of the body are often more affected than those on the other.

Osteoarthritis has no cure, and at present only the symptoms are treated.

Risk factors for osteoarthritis include the following:

– Advancing age – as a result of the wear and tear and low-grade inflammation that occurs with advancing age.

– Being overweight- carrying the extra weight places stress on the weight bearing joints

– Trauma- anyone who suffers an injury to the joints is at risk of developing osteoarthritis later in life. Even injuries that heal completely may eventually develop osteoarthritis.

– Certain occupations like laborers or electricians are in danger because of repetitive stress on a particular joint.

– There are some people who develop osteoarthritis due to genetic factors.

The treatment

Once the diagnosis of osteoarthritis is made, the treatment involves the use of medications to control pain and inflammation. When medications fail to provide relief, joint replacement surgery may be recommended. However, now there is evidence that in many people, osteoarthritis can be prevented or it’s symptoms relieved by making lifestyle changes and eating a healthy diet. Certain foods have been shown reduce inflammation, protect cartilage and strengthen the immune system.

Role of Diet

There are many foods that can help prevent or slow down the progression of osteoarthritis. One should start by avoiding processed and refined foods and oils with a long shelf life and instead eat a diet rich in natural foods including fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, cereals and whole grains which are rich in nutrients.

But there are specific foods that can help reduce inflammation and protect the joints, here is a list of 9 foods to include in your diet on a regular basis to help ease the symptoms of osteoarthritis.

  1. Omega 3 fatty acid rich foods – Chia seeds, walnuts and flax seeds in very high quantity, as well as in green leafy vegetables. There are also supplements of omega three fatty acids that can be used to ease joint pain, stiffness, and swelling although I recommend dietary change instead of supplementation.
  2. Fruits and vegetables. Try and eat at least five daily servings of vegetables and at least two servings of fruits a day. Fruits and vegetables contain high levels of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. They are loaded with anti-oxidants that help scavenge free radicals and stop damage to the tissues. To ensure that your diet does not become monotonous, add variety. When it comes to vegetables, choose the ripe highly colored ones which are more nutrient dense and richer in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory flavonoids and carotenoids in comparison to their nonripe versions.
  3. For cooking use coconut oil with medium chain fatty acids which are passively absorbed by the body without a requirement for modification or energy for absorption, use, or storage. They are also known to have antioxidant effects.
  4. Beans and sprouted lentils not only provide fiber but also have the ability to reduce inflammation and swelling of the joint through their mineral, vitamin and enzyme content and their low glycemic index, preventing spikes in blood sugar levels which promote inflammation.
  5. Whole grains should be a part of your diet if you have arthritis. You can get whole grains from brown rice, whole wheat bread, oatmeal, quinoa, and bulgur. Whole grains contain the essential minerals that you need to protect the cartilage.
  6. Mushrooms such as shiitake improve immune function and help reduce inflammation.
  7. Turmeric and ginger are powerful inflammation reducing foods.
  8. Avocados help treat osteoarthritis. They prevent pro-inflammatory prostaglandin E2 synthesis within the connective tissue. Avocados have been shown to restore the synovial fluid in the joints, reduce friction and ease the pain. There is also evidence showing that these oils can slow down damage to the joint and reduce the need for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
  9. Allium vegetables including all types of onions and garlic which help reduce inflammation and decrease the expression of degrading enzymes linked with osteoarthritis.

Finally, it is also important to drink plenty of water to support joint cartilage and keep the cartilage soft and hydrated.

Also, a change of nonbeneficial lifestyle habits is necessary; discontinue smoking, reduce intake of alcohol and start an exercise program to help the body remove waste products. There is ample evidence indicating that any type of exercise for arthritis is better than none. Even while it may be hard to think of exercise when the joints are in pain, exercise is considered an important part of the treatment plan. Even simple activities such as walking around the neighborhood or water exercise like swimming are very highly recommended.

Although you cannot cure osteoarthritis, you can reduce its debilitating effects on health by making lifestyle and dietary changes that support toxin removal and contribute to reducing inflammation.

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