How To Eat To Manage Your Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. In this, the smooth cartilage that cushions the joint breaks down and the bone beneath the cartilage also hardens. These changes cause pain and swelling in the joint. The most common reasons for osteoarthritis are age, genetics, obesity, past joint injury and joint overuse.
Some people with little damage have a great deal of pain and some people with a lot of damage have little pain. Pain cannot be related to the degree of damage. Osteoarthritis pain is often at its worst when bone rubs against bone after cartilage is gone. Fortunately, how you eat may affect your symptoms.
Fresh vegetables and fruits have plenty of fibre along with vitamins, minerals and other antioxidants. Research suggests that fibre lowers C-reactive protein (CRP), a substance in the blood that indicates inflammation. Aim to consume lots of fresh fruits and vegetables each day. High on the list of what you should consume are carrots, red capsicums, spinach, green leafy vegetables, pumpkin, sweet potatoes and fruits like apricots, papaya, mangoes, berries. In particular citrus fruits which are rich in vitamin C like oranges, lemon, lime, mandarin and kiwi, protect against inflammation.
Reduce all processed foods including fried and packaged baked goods. Research suggests that the unhealthy fats which are present in these foods promote inflammation. This is not what you want if you have osteoarthritic joints!
Consume anti-inflammatory Omega 3-rich fish. Oily cold-water fish are excellent sources of EPA and DHA which reduce joint pain and swelling. If you are a vegetarian, you can opt for chia seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts, pecan nuts, kale, spinach and sesame. Research has shown that consuming 300mg of Omega 3s is beneficial in treating osteoarthritis.
A study published in the journal of Arthritis & Rheumatism revealed that a compound called sulforaphane found in cabbage and broccoli can slow the progress of osteoarthritis and the destruction of joint cartilage. Including these in your diet is a must!
Aside from the benefits that inflammation reducing nutrients provide, maintaining a healthy weight is crucial to slowing the progression of osteoarthritis. It is of upmost importance that you monitor your weight and Body Mass Index (BMI), aiming for the lower range of what's recommended for your age, height and gender.