If you have osteoarthritis, you have probably been encouraged to stay active to help keep the weight off. This builds strong muscles and enables the joints to function better. But, you may not have heard that certain foods can help reduce some of the symptoms of arthritis.
Although some people take supplements (such as Glucosamine & chondroitin) for arthritis, the clinical research doesn’t support that these natural supplements are effective for alleviating the pain and stiffness from arthritis.
The good news is that according to a recent review of clinical research studies by The Independent, there is evidence that eating the right diet, combined with “moderate low-impact exercise, can benefit people with osteoarthritis.”
Importance of Exercise for People with Arthritis
Regular exercise is one of the most impactful things that a person with arthritis can do to alleviate symptoms. Exercise keeps the weight off the joints, lowers inflammation and reduces pain. It also keeps the joint moving better—thus the adage, “move it or lose it.”
Food for Arthritis Symptoms
Medical studies have discovered benefits (for people with arthritis) from eating a diet with wild-caught fatty fish (fresh, not farm raised) such as:
These types of fish are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which have been found to improve arthritic pain in the joints and decrease swelling and inflammation. Fish oil supplements are also recommended, but they must be high-quality fish oil, with adequate DHA. The health care provider should be consulted before taking any type of supplements. Note, fish oil is contraindicated in some conditions such as for people with blood clotting problems.
Lowering Cholesterol Levels
People with osteoarthritis are more likely to have high cholesterol levels, so, lowering the amount of saturated fat in the diet and eating high (soluble) fiber foods can help lower blood cholesterol levels.
Eating a small amount of nuts each day can also lower cholesterol. According to The Guardian, “Eating 30g a day of nuts, 25g a day of soy protein from tofu, soy milk or soy beans, and eating 2g a day of substances called stanols and sterols. These are found in small amounts in plants, but the easiest way to consume them is in fortified drinks, spreads, and yogurts that have these substances added to them.”
Replacing healthy olive and grapeseed oil for unhealthy saturated animal fat (such as lard) and reducing the intake of red meat, is also recommended for people with arthritis.
Vitamins That Reduce Symptoms of Arthritis
There are several vitamins that have been found to help reduce symptoms of arthritis, including:
• Increasing Vitamin K sources such as Brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale and spinach
• Ensuring adequate levels of Vitamin D (taking a supplement when needed)
Vitamin D helps to promote strong bones, and many people don’t get enough sunlight to produce enough of their own. Vitamin D is thought to improve symptoms of arthritis, but more evidence from clinical research studies is needed to back up this claim.
There is no cure for osteoarthritis and with nearly 20% of the population being affected by this crippling disease, prevention measures, and palliative medications are currently the only treatment options available. Eating a healthy diet and staying active, are important measures for people with arthritis who plan to Live Past 100 Well! As always check with your health provider before starting any new diet.