Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis affecting over 30 million adults in the United States. It can affect any joint in the body, but people often notice it in their knee, hands, hips, or spine. Osteoarthritis of the knee happens when cartilage wears away in the knee joint, and the bone starts to erode. Apart from tissue damage, you’ll probably begin to experience some pain and inflammation. It’s also marked symptomatically by stiffness, deformation of the knee joint, and loss of range of motion.
In this article, we will discuss some dieting tips, tricks, and food people with osteoarthritis should include in their diet to help boost the health of their knee joints and those they should not eat.
How food helps with Knee Osteoarthritis
When you make a plan to tackle knee osteoarthritis (OA), don’t overlook the power of food. Unfortunately, there’s no specific diet that treats your problem, but you can get some significant benefits if you eat smart. Some foods have anti-inflammatory capabilities, which can help reduce osteoarthritis symptoms, while other foods amplify them. The right diet can help improve knee osteoarthritis by reducing inflammation. It can also prevent further damage to the knee joint, lowering cholesterol, and maintain a healthy weight.
Below are foods to eat and simple tricks to why and how they can help ease the symptoms of knee osteoarthritis :
Eat more fruits and veggies
As we all know, fruits and veggies are very healthy, feel free to eat plenty of them. Eat those, especially those loaded with antioxidants (substances that can help protect the body from free radicals and damages). Antioxidants are found in the body and can also be obtained from plant-based foods. Some antioxidants found in fruits and veggies like onions, strawberries, apples, spinach, kale, etc., can help reduce knee joint inflammation and pain.
Oily fish contains a lot of healthful omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids (a polyunsaturated fat) have anti-inflammatory properties, so they may benefit people with osteoarthritis as a whole. Oily fish includes sardines, mackerels, salmon, fresh tuna, etc. People battling joint pains and inflammation should eat 3-ounce servings of oily fish per week. Other sources of omega-3s include walnuts, trout, herring, flaxseed oil, etc. They are also diets that help fight inflammation of knee joints and decrease the morning stiffness of the joint.
Dark leafy greens
Dark leafy greens are rich in vitamin D and stress-fighting phytochemicals and antioxidants. Vitamin D, which is essential for carbon absorption in the body, can also help boost the immune system in fighting off infection and, consequently, prevent osteoarthritis. The most common dark leafy greens include spinach, chard, collard greens, kale, etc. They help reduce pain and inflammation in the knee joint.
Cut Extra calories
It’s best to keep waistline trim to help the knee feel better. When you drop extra weight, you will put less stress on your joints, and this helps prevent any form of osteoarthritis, especially knee osteoarthritis. A lot of ways to cut down calories including:
(a) Avoid sugary foods and drinks
(b) Eat plant-based foods
(c) Having adequate exercises
Avoid high cooking Temperatures
When foods, especially meats, are cooked at high temperatures, they produce compounds that cause inflammation in the body. They’re called Advanced Glycation end product (AGEs), and they’re implicated as the cause of many diseases such as arthritis, heart diseases, and diabetes. The level of AGEs can be reduced if you cut back on grilled, fried, boiled, and microwaved meats. It also helps if you limit or stop the consumption of can foods because they’re mostly cooked at high temperatures.
Get enough Vitamin C
An essential element for joint health is vitamin C. Vitamin C helps build collagen and connective tissues. A lot of tasty food can give you vitamin C. An example is Broccoli( cabbage family plant) which contains sulforaphane which many researchers believe could slow the progression of knee osteoarthritis. This vegetable contains vitamin C and K and also bone-strengthing calcium.
Foods to Avoid and Why
Some foods with anti-inflammatory properties reduce symptoms of osteoarthritis, while some other diets contain substituents that actively contribute to this inflammation.
The type of foods that worsen the inflammation and pain of knee joints includes:
(a) Sugar: Sugars (processed sugars) activate the release of cytokines, consequently acting as inflammatory messengers in the body. Excessive intake of foods and drinks with much sugars such as soda, flavored coffee, etc., can worsen the knee joint condition.
(b) Refined Carbohydrates: Refined carbohydrates such as popcorns, rice cakes, white bread, etc., increase the production of Advanced Glycation end products (AGEs) oxidants. These foods stimulate inflammation in the body.
(c) Saturated Fat: Foods such as pizza, red meats are high in saturated fat and can cause inflammation in fat tissue. This increases the tendency of developing heart diseases, obesity, and other conditions that can make knee osteoarthritis deteriorate.