Dieting and Weight Management Tips for Osteoarthritis
Have you ever wondered if there are any foods that can help ease the pain caused by osteoarthritis (OA)? There may not be a diet specifically formatted for OA patients just yet, but research has shown that several types of foods can help ease the symptoms of this degenerative disease. If nothing else, a healthy all around diet will help maintain an efficient body weight that can reduce strain and inflammation around the joints.
As human beings age, the natural wear and tear exherted on the joints has a steady impact on the health of the cartilage. That natural progression coupled with a larger proportion of the population classified as overweight or obese has contributed that widespread prevalence of osteoarthritis.
Some of the most common symptoms associated with this arthritic condition include:
- Pain in the joints
- Swelling in one or more of the joints
- Stiffness in the joints during the morning or after long periods of inactivity (regular exercise is important for osteoarthritis)
- Grating sound of bone rubbing against bone when moving
- Bone spurs
(Most people develop osteoarthritis symptoms in their knees, hips, spine or fingers.)
Weight Management is Key
OA clinical trials have looked at a myriad of different ways to soothe the pain caused by these symptoms, but effective weight management remains one of the best options available. Physicians will often recommend strategies or even nutritionists to patients that are exhibiting early warning signs for osteoarthritis (cutting calories is usually a great way to start).
Vitamin C is one nutrient you’ll want to make sure your getting enough of on a regular basis. Studies have shown that vitamin C combats the negative effects of free radicals and can slow the progression of osteoarthritis. The body can also use this nutrient to create new collagen (protein found connective tissues).
These studies showed that about 200 milligrams per day is needed in order to provide a benefit for the joints. Our experts recommend finding a way to incorporate two foods that are rich in vitamin C to your daily meals. Healthy sources for vitamin C include:
- Red and green peppers
- Tomato Juice
If you’re not yet cooking with extra virgin olive oil, you may want to start using more in place of other oils or butter. Scientists have identified a particular phytochemical in olive oil (oleocanthal) that can reduce inflammation. Other studies have shown that three and one-half tablespoons packs the same benefit as 200 mg of ibuprofen.
Did you know that cooking meats at high temperatures (such as frying, grilling, or broiling) releases certain compounds called advanced glycation end products (AGEs) which can promote inflammation. Clinical studies have linked these compounds to osteoarthritis and other related medical conditions.
Good Supplements for Osteoarthritis
If you’ve been diagnosed with OA, then there are certain supplements that you should consider taking. Vitamin D has been the focus of a lot of research, although the jury’s still out on this one. Omega-3, on the other hand, shows a lot of promise for osteoarthritis and other types of degenerative illness.
There’s also been a spattering of studies conducted on glucosamine and chondroitin. Both substances occur naturally in and around cartilage cells. These supplements have shown the ability to help ease pain and stiffness in osteoarthritis patients, but the results have not been entirely consistent. If these are supplements you’re interested in taking, we suggest talking to your doctor and rheumatologist about it first.
Supplementation is something you’ll want to research and discuss with your primary physician in further detail before making any significant changes. Remember that it’s not meant to be your sole source of healthy nutrients. If you’re living with OA, then you should implement a stricter diet and healthy routine. Supplements will just add that extra boost.