If you are one of the 32 million Americans who suffer from osteoarthritis (OA) you may be experiencing painful, aching joints on a daily basis. The ‘wear and tear’ of this most common form of arthritis causes the cartilage that normally cushions our joints to break down, leading to painful bone-on-bone contact, says AARP.
While anti-inflammatory medications and pain-relieving drugs can help alleviate the symptoms of OA, lifestyle changes can also be effective. Losing weight and exercising are at the top of the list to treat OA naturally. Weight loss lessens the load on the joints, and movement helps stretch and strengthen the muscles around the joint to improve mobility and flexibility.
Healthcare experts who practice holistic care say that eating certain foods can reduce arthritis-related inflammation. Following a Mediterranean or DASH diet that limits refined carbohydrates, saturated fat and excess sugar may help control arthritis symptoms.
Add the following superfoods to your diet plan to soothe achy joints:
- Salmon. Oily fish contain omega-3 fatty acids, which may help OA symptoms by reducing inflammation, says AARP. Salmon has both EPA and DHA, the most prevalent fatty acids in our cells. You can also add sardines, mackerel, and fresh tuna to your diet as these fatty fish also are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Vegetarians can reap the benefits of omega-3’s by consuming chia seeds, flaxseed oils and walnuts, according to Medical News Today.
- Tart cherry juice. Tart cherry juice is rich in antioxidants and has been shown to reduce blood levels of gout-causing uric acid. Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis due to an excess of uric acid in the blood. A 2013 randomized double-blind study revealed that drinking tart cherry juice twice daily for six weeks “provided symptom relief for patients with mild to moderate knee OA,” said the researchers.
- Olive oil. Studies have shown that a compound found in olive oil called oleocanthal prevents the production of pro-inflammatory COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes in the same way ibuprofen works, according to the Arthritis Foundation.
- Spinach and kale. These leafy greens are packed with vitamin K which supports cartilage health. Observational studies have found that older individuals who do not get enough of this vitamin are more prone to developing OA, according to AARP. Since vitamin K also helps in blood clotting, do not increase your intake if you are using blood thinning medication without checking with your doctor or healthcare professional.
- Garlic. According to the Rheumatology Network, researchers have found that taking garlic supplements can help reduce the pain of OA. “Garlic is so ubiquitous in everyday diet that encouraging patients with OA to include more in their cuisine may be far easier than starting them on a new drug,” wrote the authors of the study, who pointed out that garlic is also a low-cost strategy.
- Green tea. Green tea has high levels of polyphenols that may reduce inflammation and slow down the rate of cartilage damage, says Medical News Today.
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