Osteoarthritis, a commonly found form of arthritis, is a condition that affects people all around the world. This happens when cartilage placed on the end of the bones faces wear and tear over time. The condition can potentially damage any joint in the body. But, generally speaking, it most commonly affects hands, knees, hips and the spine.
So what are the symptoms?
Some of the symptoms may be a pain in the joints during movement, a little tenderness upon application of pressure, joint stiffness, flexibility loss, a sensation of grating upon using the joint, and bone spurs, which are extra bits of bone lumps which form around the affected joint.
So, who’s at risk? Let’s take a look. With age, the risk of developing the condition increases. The likelihood of women developing osteoarthritis is more. Those who are obese have a greater chance of developing osteoarthritis, as the extra body weight adds stress on the weight-carrying joints like knees and hips. Injuries from sports, accidents, etc., also add to the risk of osteoarthritis. Certain professions add to vulnerability. If a job involves repetitive stress on a certain joint, the chances are greater. Further, those with bone deformities and inheritance issues are also at risk of developing osteoarthritis.
It is important to keep in mind that osteoarthritis is degenerative in nature. With time, it worsens, making the performance of even daily tasks challenging. In some cases, it renders the patient unable to work without joint replacement surgery, which is the only go-to in such cases.
Diagnosis involves X-rays, which are used to determine cartilage loss, bone spurs, etc. Magnetic Resonance Imaging or MRI is also used to produce detailed bone and soft tissue images. Analysis of blood or joint fluid also confirms the diagnosis in some cases.
What foods to eat if you have osteoarthritis
Such food has lots of omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to have anti-inflammatory properties. Eating at least one portion of oily fish every week is ideal. These could be sardines, mackerel, fresh tuna, salmon, etc.
Oils like extra virgin olive oil have to be consumed in some form, because of its anti-inflammatory properties. One may also try sunflower oil and avocado, to lower cholesterol.
3. Dairy products
Since these are rich in calcium and Vitamin D, they help boost bone strength and help build muscle.
Greens like Spinach, Chard, Kale, etc., should be added to the diet. These have Vitamin D, phytochemicals and antioxidants. They aid calcium absorption and strengthen the immune system.
5. Go green with your tea as well
Green tea has polyphenols, which is known to decrease inflammation and slow down cartilage damage.
Garlic contains a compound called diallyl disulfide which alleviates osteoarthritis.
Nuts are enriched with calcium, zinc, vitamin E, and fiber. Further, nuts also have alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) which is good for the immune system.
What foods to avoid
While eating certain kinds of foods may help you inhibit symptoms of the condition, eating some kinds of foods, may contribute to the associated inflammation.
Avoid sugar in all forms as they trigger the release of cytokines, which act like inflammatory messengers. Avoid things like sweetened beverages, soda, sweet tea, and juices that have added sugar.
2. Saturated fat
Looking at you, Pizza! Also, red meat. These have the potential to cause inflammation in the fat tissue. These contribute to the risks of obesity, heart conditions, and can really make arthritis-related inflammation worse.
3. Refined carbohydrates
Shun things like white bread, potato chips, white rice, etc. These are known to trigger the production of advanced glycation end (AGE) oxidants, which cause inflammation in the body.