Those who suffer the crippling effects of osteoarthritis and look for hope in a diet for osteoarthritis will find conflicting information. Can what you eat really make a difference?
Effect of a Diet for Osteoarthritis
Throughout history, people have learned that what we eat can influence our health. But what about relieving or even reversing the effects of degenerative osteoarthritis? Truthfully,diet for osteoarthritis is still being researched and evaluated. Here are some of the latest findings:
Osteoarthritis and Obesity
It is accepted that obesity raises the risk for developing osteoarthritis. Due to this fact, if you take steps to lose weight, you'll also reduce your changes for developing or aggravating your osteoarthritis. If your osteoarthritis is in one of your weight-bearing joints like a knee or hip, losing weight will improve your ability to rehabilitate after joint surgery.
We know vitamins are important to good health, but understanding the role of vitamins in fighting osteoarthritis will help you to see how a diet for osteoarthritis may help you. Vitamin C is integral in the growth of normal cartilage. The following foods are good natural sources of vitamin C:
- Broccoli (raw or cooked)
- Brussels sprouts (cooked)
- Cantaloupe (raw)
- Cauliflower (cooked)
- Edible pod peas (cooked)
- Green pepper (raw or cooked)
- Grapefruit juice
- Guava (raw)
- Kale (cooked)
- Kiwi fruit (raw)
- Kohlrabi (cooked)
- Orange (raw)
- Orange juice
- Papaya (raw)
- Pineapple (raw)
- Red sweet pepper (raw and cooked)
- Strawberries (raw)
- Vegetable juice cocktail
- Sweet potato
- Tomato juice
Studies have shown that a deficiency of Vitamin D raises the risk of narrowing joint space and encourages the development of osteoarthritis. Many health care providers recommend 400 IU of vitamin D daily.
Researches have also studied the effects of food supplements on osteoarthritis. Studies in Europe and the United States suggest that glucosamine and chondroitin can help to relieve osteoarthritis pain and stiffness. These supplements can be taken individually or in combination formulas.
Glucosamine is a natural compound found in healthy cartilage. Evidence from controlled trials confirms that glucosamine sulfate is effective in the treatment of osteoarthritis because it stregthens cartilage. It is usually taken along with chondroitin.
Chondroitin is manufactured from natural sources like shark or beef cartilage or by synthetic means. Many experts agree that chondroitin along with glucosamine improves and may even reverse the degenerative process of osteoarthritis.
Other Dietary Recommendations
Not all diet therapies are recognized by the medical community as beneficial in fighting osteoarthritis symptoms. However, these dietary recommendations are supported by many who have tried them:
- Remove foods that cause inflammation - These may include dairy, wheat, nightshade plants. Give up foods you suspect for one month and then gradually add them back into your diet one at a time by adding one food every 2-3 days.
- Reduce or eliminate animal products from your diet.
- Include plenty of green vegetables
- Eat soy products
- Eat whole Grains
- Eat cold water fish
- saturated fat
- hydrogenated fat
- excess salt
Herbs have long been considered helpful for arthritis suffers, however there's no clinical proof backing the claims made by those who use herbal remedies.
- Blueberries, cherries, hawthorn berries - enhances collagen matrix integrity and structure
- Celery seed extract - an anti-inflammatory
- Devils claw - an analgesic and anti-inflammatory
- Ginger - an anti-inflammatory. Can be taken in the form of tea by adding one grated teaspoon of fresh ginger to a cup of hot water.
- Horsetail - Believed to strengthen connective tissue.
- Licorice root - while this works as an anti-inflammatory, its long term use is not recommended as it can elevate blood pressure and deplete potassium loss.
- Turmeric - an anti-inflammatory
- White willow - anti-inflammatory and arthritis pain relief
- Yucca - reduces arthritic pain