Osteoarthritis is a painful medical condition of the joint that worsens progressively. Thus, another term used colloquially for this joint disease is degenerative arthritis. The manifested osteoarthritis symptoms include joint pain, stiffness, tenderness, swelling, effusion, and ultimately reduced movement ability. A well-planned diet, along with exercise, lifestyle changes, and pain medications are the various ways by which this degenerative joint disease can be treated.
Osteoarthritis Treatment Diet
Metabolic, mechanical, hereditary, and developmental factors are greatly responsible for the development of osteoarthritis. In short, anybody can develop this debilitating joint disease. The main objectives of treatment are managing the painful symptoms and promoting smooth functioning of the affected joints. In order to achieve this, a proper diet and regular exercise must be followed by every patient for effective management of this disease. Also, maintaining a healthy weight is imperative for reducing the pressure applied over the knee joints.
Foods to Include
- Fresh vegetables and fruits should form the bulk of the arthritis diet. These plant-derived food products contain antioxidants that are effective in fighting against the inflammatory effects of free radicals.
- Dietary carotenoid is another active ingredient that slows down joint degradation in arthritis patients. It is present in high amounts in green leafy vegetables, carrots, tomatoes, and oranges.
- In a clinical study, it was found that eating food rich in vitamin E (a natural antioxidant) decreases flare-ups of osteoarthritis of the knee joint. Some eatables with vitamin E are sunflower seeds, cereals, almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, tomatoes, spinach, etc.
- Vitamin C plays a major role in the development of joint cartilage. Taking this into consideration, items rich in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, grapefruit, cabbage, broccoli, etc., should be included in the diet.
- Incorporate walnuts and flaxseeds in the regular diet plan. These nuts and seeds are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids and healthy fats. In short, they are excellent anti-inflammatory foods.
- Include lots of fiber-rich food in the diet. They help in keeping the digestive system healthy and also counteract the side effects of arthritic medications, especially constipation.
- Consume oily fish, like mackerel, salmon, and sardine on a regular basis, as they are rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids. These healthy fats are known to reduce the inflammatory conditions significantly.
- While cooking or serving food, add herbs that possess medicinal properties, like garlic, ginger, and turmeric. In case of non-availability of fresh ginger or turmeric, include dry or powdered versions.
- Last but not the least, drink lots of water and healthy fluids to keep the body hydrated and flush the toxins from the system. Another benefit of consuming fluids is that it maintains a good digestive health.
Foods to Avoid
- Common products that are known to trigger osteoarthritis attacks are eggplants, potatoes, and peppers. Strictly avoid these in the diet plan.
- While some patients experience worsened pain with tomatoes, others do not have the same effect. So, whether or not to include tomatoes in the diet is entirely up to an individual's experience.
- Reduce the intake of food ingredients that contain fats, such as partially hydrogenated oil and polyunsaturated fatty acids. They are not only fattening but also worsen the pain indirectly.
- Many patients have reported exacerbated pain after drinking orange juice. Hence, avoiding it in the diet may be effective for managing the symptom of pain.
- Limit the intake of packaged food items. Such food is treated with food additives for preservation purposes.
- As far as possible, stay away from processed and refined foods. They are poor in nutrients as the nutritional value is majorly lost during the processing steps.
- If certain food items are suspected to trigger osteoarthritis joint pain symptoms, then follow an elimination diet for 1 week or so and observe if the pain subsides or not after refraining from the food items. Accordingly, plan the diet for the treatment.
- Other food items to be avoided by patients are caffeinated drinks, alcoholic beverages, dairy products, sugary foods, deep-fried foods, foods rich in phosphorus, foods containing gluten, and those enriched with oxalic acids.
From the above information it is clear that an osteoarthritis diet basically comprises anti-inflammatory food items. If required, the doctor may suggest some dietary supplements containing vitamins, fish oil, and fiber as well. For every patient, the main goal of treatment is to improve the functionality of the joint and reduce the dependency on analgesics. So, follow the doctor's recommendations and make the necessary lifestyle changes for a better quality life.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.