Tips to Keep Your Joints Healthy - Diet, Complementary Medicines, Weight Loss

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Tips to Keep Your Joints Healthy - Diet, Complementary Medicines, Weight Loss
01 Aug 2023

Diet Rich in AntiOxidants
There is growing evidence that osteoarthritis may also be part of metabolic syndrome, a condition in which your body has a high level of inflammation.  Following a diet that reduces the risk may help to slow the progression of metabolic syndrome.  

Eat fresh foods that are high in nutrients, with a focus on:

  • fresh fruits and vegetables, which provide antioxidants and other nutrients
  • fiber-rich foods, such as whole foods and plant-based foods
  • healthy oils, such as olive oil, sacha inchi oil

Foods to avoid include those that have added sugar, fat, and salt and are highly processed.

Eat Fish
If you have joint pain, a fish dish could help. Fatty cold-water types like salmon and mackerel are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which help keep joints healthy. They also lower inflammation, which causes joint pain and tenderness in people with arthritis. 

Keep Your Bones Strong
Calcium and vitamin D can help. Dairy products are the best sources of calcium, but other options are green, leafy vegetables like broccoli and kale. If you don't get enough calcium from food, ask your doctor or pharmacist about supplements.  Choose calcium supplements containing calcium salts such as calcium citrate which are better absorbed by your body.

Shed Some Weight
Your size has an effect on the strain on your hips, knees and back.  For every step, your knee takes on a force equal to 3-6 times your weight. Every extra weight you gain puts more stress on your knees. So even a small amount of weight loss will give your knees relief.  

For people who are overweight, each pound they lose can reduce the load on their knee joint by 4 pounds (1.81 kg). That means if you lose 10 pounds (4.54 kg), there’ll be 40 pounds (18.14 kg) less weight in each step for your knees to support.

Less pressure means less wear and tear on the knees and a lower risk of osteoarthritis (OA).
According to the American College of Rheumatology/Arthritis Foundation, losing 5 percent or more of your body weight can have a positive effect on both knee function and treatment outcomes.

Reducing inflammation in the body
Recent research suggests that inflammation may be a risk factor rather than a consequence of osteoarthritis.
Obesity may increase inflammation levels in the body, which may lead to joint pain. Losing weight can reduce this inflammatory response.

Complementary Medicines
Complementary or alternative therapies for osteoarthritis are commonly used.  

For several treatments, the risk–benefit profile is encouraging: several supplements or herbal medicines, capsaicin cream and acupuncture.

For other therapies the evidence is weak or contradictory: homeopathy, magnet therapy, tai chi, leech therapy, music therapy, yoga, imagery and therapeutic touch.

Glucosamine sulphate is a component of normal cartilage. It is available as a health supplements in pharmacies and health food stores without a prescription.  Because glucosamine sulphate stimulates the production of new cartilage components, it is thought that it may be able to help the body repair cartilage damaged by osteoarthritis.

Omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish and fish oil supplements, might help relieve pain and improve function.

As inflammation is involved in joint pains, type II undenatured collagen (UCII) has been used to develop oral tolerance, an immune mechanism in your body to distinguish between nonharmful and potentially harmful invaders in the body.  As type II collagen is a component of the joint cartilage, the body detects UCII (taken as a supplement in the gut) as non-harmful and triggers off a series of mechanisms in your body to produce anti-inflammatory substances to reduce the joint inflammation and promote cartilage repair.

Topical capsaicin, a chili pepper extract, applied to your skin over an arthritic joint might help some people. You might have to apply it three to four times a day for several weeks before you see a benefit. Some people can't tolerate the irritation. Wash your hands well after applying capsaicin cream.