A number of lifestyle factors such as diet, weight, exercise, and previous injury can all contribute to the risk of developing osteoarthritis. So making necessary dietary and lifestyle changes can have a great impact on the prevention and management of the disease. In addition to following regular exercise and maintaining good lifestyle habits, the right choice of food is recommended by researchers and healthcare specialists.
What Foods to Have?
- Include the right mix of Vitamin C in your diet as it helps reduce the progression of osteoarthritis. It aids in the formation of both collagen and proteoglycans, which are two major components of cartilage. It is also a powerful antioxidant that helps to counteract the effects of free radicals in the body, which may otherwise damage cartilage. The sources of this vitamin include citrus fruits, strawberries, green leafy vegetables, cauliflower, peppers, kiwi, cantaloupe, tomatoes, potatoes, and pineapple. Osteoarthritis experts suggest a daily intake of 200 milligrams of vitamin C to improve the condition.
- Beta-carotene is another antioxidant that serves the purpose of reducing the risk of osteoarthritis progression. Include in your diet red, yellow, and orange fruits and vegetables and many dark-green leafy vegetables rich in this antioxidant. About 9,000 International Units of beta-carotene is recommended to serve the purpose.
- Proper calcium absorption and bone structure are crucial in good joint functioning and that is why Vitamin D should be included in the diet. About 15 minutes of exposure to ultraviolet sunlight three to four times a week can help you obtain the required vitamin. Foods to include are eggs, fortified milk and cereals, tuna, and fish-liver oils. Experts recommend 600 International Units of Vitamin D to fight the condition.
- Osteoarthritis experts advise intake of three grams of omega-3 fatty acids daily. On the other hand, Omega-6 fatty acids are to be limited, which would reverse the effects. Omega-3 fatty acids are seen in cold-water fish, pecans, walnuts, olive and canola oils, flaxseeds, soy foods, and flaxseed oil. They help relieve joint pain and reduce morning stiffness, and work by reducing inflammation in the body.
- Using olive oil in place of other fats is ideal to help prevent inflammation. As green tea contains anti-inflammatory properties, its intake may also help reduce symptoms. Similarly, make whole grain breads and cereals part of your diet to fight osteoarthritis.
What Foods to Avoid?
There are some foods to be avoided or at least take special care that you consume these in small quantities only.
- Saturated and Trans fats are not recommended for people with this condition or who have chances of developing the condition. Limit intake of butter, meats, and processed foods such as cookies and candy. This prevents increased cholesterol and inflammation.
- Too much intake of salt or sodium is also not recommended, because it may elevate blood pressure.
- Similarly, sugars found in processed foods and sodas that offer no nutrition but only empty calories are not recommended.
Cutting extra calorie intake is vital because weight is a crucial factor when preventing and treating OA. Studies show that when an obese person reduces weight, the risk for osteoarthritis also goes down. So maintain a healthy weight by avoiding sugary foods and drinks, and eating mostly plant-based foods.