The phrase, ‘you are what you eat,’ is often repeated, usually in a negative way, to explain why someone is carrying extra weight. But, just as we can have a negative impact on our health with what we eat, we can also help by eating the right things; even with chronic conditions like osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis is a condition that many of us will experience as we get older. Over time, the surface of the joint can become damaged and this can lead to pain and stiffness. There are a number of different approaches to helping with osteoarthritis, including exercise, but you can also impact the condition by making different food choices.
The pain and discomfort that osteoarthritis causes comes from inflammation; swelling that happens around the joint. One way that you can help your body to deal with this is to eat a diet that is rich in foods that have natural anti-inflammatory properties. We can only talk in general terms here, so please consult with your doctor or nutritionist before making any major changes to your diet.
Some foods which are known to have anti-inflammatory properties are: olive oil, which has some of the same properties as pain killers and cherries and other red fruits which contain anthocyanidins that help combat swelling. Studies have shown that sulforaphane, found in broccoli, helps to slow the progression of osteoarthritis, while red peppers have plenty of vitamin C that helps maintain healthy bones and cartilage. Lastly, nuts are a great addition to your diet; they contain many nutrients that are helpful for your overall health as well caring for your joints.
In general, eating more fruit and vegetables will benefit your osteoarthritis. If you don’t find vegetables that appealing then it’s worth looking for new recipes; we tend to get stuck in the rut of boiling or steaming and put all our cooking skill into the meat part of the meal, but there are some great recipes for veggie out there.
Osteoarthritis can be a painful condition, but there are ways to minimise its effect and keep going for just that little bit longer. Remember, you are what you eat!