4 Reasons Nutrition Is Vital When Living with Osteoarthritis

Introduction

Did you know a study done in 2005 reported that approximately 26.9 million American adults suffer from osteoarthritis where this conservative number of people suffering from this degenerative arthritic joint disease has only exponentially increased over the years? But why is that? Studies have shown that arthritis is twice as high in obese people as in those with a healthy weight since the extra weight puts pressure on your joints. Thus is it due to the rise in obesity? Maybe partly due to people retiring at a much later age putting more stress on their joints and bones? In this post we will not speculate as to “what” is causing an increase in osteoarthritis, but rather “how” osteoarthritis symptoms can be reduced and in some cases, prevented. If you suffer from osteoarthritis, then you are well aware that it is a disease where a loss of cartilage in the joints can bring severe inflammation and excruciating pain. Thus we would like to provide you with some handy nutrition and exercise tips (and why they are important) to help you manage this condition to live an enjoyable and healthy life. Nutrition is important to osteoarthritis patients for even small nutritional changes may reduce pain associated with osteoarthritis. However, it is in your best interest to consult your healthcare provider first before implementing any of these tips.

Nutrition Can Keep Your Bones & Cartilage Strong

Eating a sensible diet, focused on musculoskeletal rigidity, may aid in keeping your bones and cartilage durable. For example, studies have shown that foods high in antioxidants as well as in glucosamine may help reduce, if not repair, tissue damage caused by osteoarthritis. For adding antioxidants to your diet, try to add fruits and vegetables; for example, blueberries and leafy greens. For glucosamine, try to incorporate shellfish such as crab, lobster, or shrimp.

Nutrition Can Control Inflammation

Controlling your diet can help to control general inflammation in the body. Certain foods such as sugary foods, fried foods, and refined foods have been shown to increase inflammation in the body. Do your best to reduce if not avoid foods of this nature. On the contrary, numerous studies have also documented many foods that have anti-inflammatory effects. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids (e.g. salmon & tuna), as well as spices such as ginger and turmeric, may help in reducing inflammation. It is important to note that [fat] is not a bad thing to have in your diet. To contrary belief, healthy fats can actually aid in weight loss. Just be sure the foods you choice are of the healthy-type of fat; for example, the fish we just mentioned, avocados, nut butters, almonds, and olive oil to name a few.

Nutrition Can Aid In Weight Loss

Having an appropriate weight for your body may reduce stress on your bones and joints, especially the weight-bearing joints as in your pelvis or knees. Removing excess weight from your body not only removes added stress on these joints but may also reduce pain. To lose weight, you must expend more calories (through exercise or hypo-caloric diet) than you are consuming. Thus for weight loss or weight-maintenance (if you are at an appropriate weight), eating a diet high in nutrient-dense foods will provide the right amount of calories without over consuming. Furthermore, studies have shown that people who continue to eat processed foods, fried foods, sugar and red meat are more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis over people eating a diet of fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, and white meats.

Nutrition Can Get You Moving

Physical activity may help to maintain joint mobility where nutrition plays a vital role in how active we are. For example, the more fatty and fried foods that we eat, the more sluggish and worn-down we feel. On the contrary, eating nutrient-dense foods provides the minerals and vitamins to not only give us the ability to exercise but may also promote the motivation to exercise. This motivation in itself is significant for research has shown that 40% of women and 56% of men with osteoarthritis exercise less than 10 minutes a week, given the misconception that exercise wears down joints. In fact, physical activity may also reduce the risk of developing osteoarthritis in the first place. Frequently recommended activities are ones that put minimal stress on the body’s joints; for example, swimming and bicycling. Try to avoid intense activities that may injure or strain the joint cartilage. Exercise is beneficial when performed at a level that does not stress the joints.

We must stress how important it is to consult your doctor before implementing any of the above nutritional tips. Your healthcare provider can help you pick and choose which foods will work best for you and reducing the symptoms of osteoarthritis. We hope this quick overview of how nutrition can reverse the effects of osteoarthritis. What nutritional changes have helped reduce your symptoms of osteoarthritis? Let us know!

 Tags: osteoarthritis, nutrition, exercise, activity, inflammation, anti-inflammation, knee pain, pelvic pain, joints, obesity, diet

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