Healthy Eating – Combating and Preventing Osteoarthritis
Making a conscious effort to eat a healthy and balanced diet is a huge part of maintaining overall health, especially given today’s many temptations to ignore careful eating and go to town on junk food. That’s why we’re starting a content series on our blog called Healthy Eating. And you’re reading the first post!
For this installment, we’re going to concentrate on the right dietary habits and foods you can embrace to help prevent or combat osteoarthritis.
In case you’re unfamiliar, osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and involves the degeneration and wearing down of your body’s cartilage and bones. It’s more common in adults over the age of 40, and it causes chronic pain and stiffness in your joints (such as knees, hips, shoulders, hands, etc) often leading to joint replacement surgery. You can check out this informational post from earlier on our blog if you’re interested in learning more about arthritis and how it works.
Now that you have an understanding of what we’re trying to fight against, let’s talk about the right foods to do the job. Diets low in vitamins and nutrients that the body needs can contribute to eventual osteoarthritis problems, so following these rules and getting plenty of the following nutrients and foods can go a long way.
1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Don’t let the word “fatty” scare you. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids can help decrease inflammation in your body and slow the breaking down of cartilage in your joints. Most kinds of fish are excellent sources of these fatty acids. Check out the list below, or this helpful link for a more in-depth breakdown:
- flaxseeds/flaxseed oil
- fresh basil
2. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a versatile vitamin that gets thrown around as the answer to a lot of health problems, but make no mistake, foods high in this healthy vitamin can make a big difference. Vitamin C helps build up cartilage in your joints, and a diet lacking it can contribute to the faster development of arthritis. Some great foods that are high in vitamin C include:
- citrus fruits
Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant, which means it helps fight inflammation and cells called free radicals that can be harmful to your joints, your cartilage, and your body as a whole. Antioxidants have many proven benefits to an overall-healthy lifestyle, so consider us fully on board with you incorporating more of these foods into your diet:
- sweet potatoes
- winter squash
4. Vitamin D
Everyone from your mom to those commercials on TV has probably told you that vitamin D can help build strong bones. Well they’re right, and it can help reduce the incidence of arthritis as well. Getting more vitamin D can strengthen bones and cartilage at important joints where osteoarthritis strikes. Include these foods in your diet to bolster your vitamin D consumption:
- cod liver oil
- fortified orange juice
OK, so now you have plenty of foods to add to your shopping list if you’re looking to improve your joint health. Get out there and start eating. Bonus points if the food appeared on our lists twice!