Osteoarthritis may be a relative certainty for some, and the degenerative nature of arthritis can greatly impact quality of life over time. However, the effects of osteoarthritis can be greatly minimized with a healthy diet and good weight control. According to a study done by Wake Forest University, “every pound lost netted a 4-pound reduction in pressure exerted on the knees. For people losing 10 pounds, each knee would be subjected to 48,000 pounds less in comprehensive load per mile walked.” This effectively demonstrates how even small improvements in diet and overall lifestyle can significantly decrease the joint pain associated with osteoarthritis.
Beneficial diet for osteoarthritis. While there are no conclusive studies pointing to a diet that can cure osteoarthritis, some foods have shown beneficial in treating specific symptoms. In addition, supplements containing glucosamine may slow the progression of the disease. Beneficial foods include anti-inflammatory spices such as rosemary, oregano, thyme and turmeric. Hot peppers (and the capsaicin they contain) may be useful as a system-wide pain reliever.
Osteoarthritis sufferers might also benefit from foods high in beta-carotene, fiber, vitamins D and C and omega-3 fatty acids. Though studies are ongoing as to the effects of this diet on the actual mechanisms of osteoarthritis, these nutrients are also essential in a healthy weight-control diet. Consider adding more fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet; healthy proteins, such as nuts; and whole grains.
Foods to avoid with osteoarthritis. Conversely, the foods that arthritis sufferers should avoid are those that cause water retention, inflammation and weight gain. Food to avoid or strictly regulate include those high in saturated fat such as fried food, red meat and most fast-food fare. High-starch content like that found in baked goods, potatoes and corn may contribute to weight gain. Food high in sodium such as processed meat or canned soups may lead to excessive fluid retention, increasing stress on the joints.
Other diet considerations. In addition to a healthy diet, it is especially important for people with osteoarthritis or who are at risk of developing arthritis to drink at least the recommended eight glasses of water a day, get sufficient exercise and take a high-quality multivitamin. Your doctor may offer suggestions for the best supplements for your needs, as well as which exercises are safe, low-impact and that will result in the least post-exercise joint pain.