Orthopedic Specialists

Osteoarthritis - Eat This, Not That

June 25, 2020

Did you know that you can help fight osteoarthritis by decreasing inflammation, improving joint flexibility, and help to ease the pain just by choosing the right foods?  Some foods tend to increase inflammation and some foods help to fight it.

Inflammation produces free radicals, the cell-damaging molecules that are formed in response to toxins and natural body processes.  The synovium (the cushion between knee joints)  is as prone to free radical damage as the skin, eyes, or any other body tissue.  Studies have shown that antioxidants help protect the body from these free radicals and certain antioxidants may help aid in arthritis prevention, slow its progression, and relieve pain.

The following list includes foods that cause arthritis inflammation:

1. Sugar- sugar-rich carbs such as processed cakes, cookies, and bakery items, may actually change your body’s immune response to disease.  This can worsen inflammation and leave your strained joints feeling even weaker.
2. Salt – Eating too much sodium causes your cells to retain water and swell. This leads to an inflammatory reaction which can contribute to joint damage.
3. Fried food -  Foods high in saturated fats, such as French fries and donuts can increase inflammation in the body and make arthritis pain worse. The chemical reaction in your body caused by the oils used to fry foods can also raise your cholesterol, too. 
4. White flour -  Refined wheat products, like white bread, stimulate your body’s inflammatory response. Eating a lot of refined pasta, cereals, and grain products might make your arthritis pain flare-up.
5. Omega-6 fatty acids – Food containing saturated fats, such as egg yolks and red meat, may increase the inflammation in your body, making arthritis pain worse.  Eating foods rich in Omega-3s such as salmon, walnuts, and soy will give you the protein you need without worsening your osteoarthritis symptoms.
6. Dairy – Dairy products are believed to cause inflammation in some people, making it an arthritis pain trigger.

Decreasing inflammation can help with the symptoms of osteoarthritis. These “superfoods” for osteoarthritis or anti-inflammatory foods are foods that reduce inflammation in the body and have many health benefits:

1. Bananas and Plantains – These are high in magnesium and potassium which increase your bone density.  Magnesium is also known to alleviate symptoms of arthritis.
2. Blueberries – Blueberries are antioxidants that protect your body against inflammation and free radicals, protecting your joint health.
3. Salmon – Salmon is high in Omega-3s which can reduce joint pain and shorten the duration of morning stiffness.
4. Green Tea – Studies have shown that green tea possesses anti-inflammatory properties.  Another study showed that the active ingredients in green tea inhibited chemicals and enzymes that lead to cartilage damage and breakdown.
5. Orange juice – Vitamin C is important to the development of normal cartilage.
6. Tofu – Soy protein, found in tofu, has been shown to reduce pain and swelling in chronic knee joint pain not attributed to injury or rheumatoid arthritis. Results were found to be more beneficial for men than women.
7. Peanut Butter - Vitamin B3, found in peanut butter, is a supplement that may help people with osteoarthritis by improving flexibility and reducing inflammation.
8. Whole-grain bread and cereals - Some studies have linked whole grains to less disability, morning stiffness, and pain.
9. Lobster – Lobster is an excellent source of Vitamin E which may be key in helping to fight arthritis-like damage.
10. Pineapple -  A key enzyme in pineapple called bromelain helps reduce inflammation.

Following an osteoarthritis diet, adding and subtracting the foods discussed above, will help reduce inflammation in your body and potentially help reduce your osteoarthritis symptoms. If you are suffering from arthritis pain, call and make an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists, 515-955-6767. Using this nutrient guide is one of the many options to help with your arthritis pain!

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