Eating Right For Osteoarthritis This Monsoon

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Eating Right For Osteoarthritis This Monsoon

Various studies and researches suggest that including certain food items in your diet and eliminating few of them can help in Osteoarthritis management during monsoon.

Eating Right For Osteoarthritis This Monsoon

Osteoarthritis occurs when the protective cartilage in between the joints wears down over time. It is the most common form of arthritis and typically affects the hands, knees, hips and spine. The monsoons can bring with it a host of concerns for those with osteoarthritis, especially given the higher risk of slips and falls in this season. Osteoarthritis cannot be cured through diet alone but there are several foods that can help to reduce the symptoms associated with osteoarthritis as well as lower the risk of fracture in case of a fall. For instance, antioxidants are critical in helping our bodies fight free radicals which trigger inflammation.

Foods to include for osteoarthritis

There are several foods that can help to improve your osteoarthritis symptoms but it’s important that you visit your doctor before making any drastic changes to your diet. Also, bear in mind that osteoarthritic symptoms may respond differently to the same foods for different individuals. In general, the following fruits and vegetables which are easily available in the monsoons, are highly beneficial for osteoarthritic individuals.

Foods to include for osteoarthritis

1) Papaya

Papaya

Many tropical fruit such as papaya make a good choice for people suffering from osteoarthritis. Enzymes found in papaya could benefit people dealing with inflammation and is rich in calcium. Antioxidants, such as beta-carotene and that vital Vitamin C are just a few more reasons to reach for papayas this rainy season. 

2) Plums and prunes

Plums (and their dried version, prunes) are another seasonal fruit rich in vitamin C. Vitamin C plays an important role in managing osteoporosis symptoms as research shows that this vitamin can help to increase collagen in knee cartilage. A recent study on the health benefits of prunes found that they can help to keep bones strong as well as lower the risk of osteoarthritis.

( Source - Deyhim, Farzad & Stoecker, Barbara & H Brusewitz, Gerald & Devareddy, Latha & Arjmandi, Bahram. (2005). Dried plum reverses bone loss in an osteopenic rat model of osteoporosis. Menopause (New York, N.Y.). 12. 755-62. 10.1097/01.gme.0000185486.55758.5b. )

Plums and prunes

3) Cherries

Cherries

There have been studies about the benefits of tart cherry juice for arthritic patients, principally because of the flavonoid anthocyanin. Tart cherries are a smart choice because of their potent anti-inflammatory properties. For osteoarthritis, an added benefit is that the muscle soreness you tend to feel after a workout can be eased with tart cherries. A point to be noted is that the antioxidants are not as high in sweet cherries, but you should treat yourself to them as well because they are still abundant in anthocyanins as compared to most foods. While more research is needed, cherries are a local, fleetingly available monsoon fruit that should be included in your osteoarthritis diet plan.

4) Spinach

Spinach is known for its high iron content but it is also a good source of Vitamin D, calcium and magnesium. Spinach is also high in phytochemicals and antioxidants which help to reduce inflammation, making it the perfect option for those with osteoarthritis. With osteoarthritis, it is imperative to not only increase your calcium intake but also your vitamin D intake. Vitamin D is important as it is aids the absorption of calcium. A recent study found that spinach extracts could help osteoarthritis patients when it comes to maintaining bone strength and mitigating osteoarthritis-associated symptoms. Look at different ways of incorporating spinach, from green smoothies to adding it to pea soup. When including spinach in your diet plan for osteoarthritis, make sure that you wash the leaves thoroughly to remove dirt and other contaminants.

Spinach

5) Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes

The anthocyanins, antioxidants and beta-carotene in sweet potatoes make them another good vegetable to incorporate in a diet for osteoarthritis. Purple sweet potatoes in particular are easily available throughout the monsoon. You can swap your daily snack for a small bowl of flavourful, roasted sweet potato, minus the salt.

Aside from these fresh fruits and vegetables, a general increased intake of fresh and colourful local produce can have an immense impact on osteoarthritis. Try to change it up and look for new ways to incorporate these osteoarthritis friendly fruits and vegetables in your daily diet. Top off your salads and soups with powerful anti-inflammatory spices such as ginger and turmeric for that extra punch.

Foods to avoid for osteoarthritis

The term ‘trigger foods’ is often used to describe foods that might aggravate arthritic conditions. A point to be noted here is that individuals can often react differently to such trigger foods. Some patients have reported lessening of osteoarthritic symptoms simply by cutting out foods from the nightshade family – this would include potatoes, eggplant, peppers and tomatoes.

(Source - Ryan K. Lanier, Kainen D. Gibson, Amy E. Cohen, and Maria Varga (2013) Effects of Dietary Supplementation with the Solanaceae Plant Alkaloid Anatabine on Joint Pain and Stiffness: Results from an Internet-Based Survey Study, : Clin Med Insights Arthritis Musculoskelet Disorder. )

Vitamin C plays an important role in reducing osteoarthritis; however, citrus fruits such as oranges are known trigger foods for many patients with osteoarthritis even though they are high in vitamin C. It is important to note that citrus fruits are not a trigger food for everyone with osteoarthritis – the key is to keep a track of which foods trigger your symptoms and which ones help to alleviate them.

A general rule of thumb which will serve you well is that foodstuff prepared by frying is going to be bad for health. These foods tend to be rich in saturated fats, which is a big health concern and detrimental to osteoarthritic individuals. The same applies to processed foods and foods containing refined carbs or refined wheat, which have become far too easily accessible.

Sugar, salts and other preservatives also tend to trigger problems in those with osteoarthritis. Try to consciously make healthier choices at all times, such as opting for one of the recommended fruits instead of the usual biscuit or deep-fried snack.

Just keep these fruits and vegetables in mind when it comes to eating right for osteoarthritis, while also remembering that you need to listen to your body. With trial and error, you can tailor these suggestions to suit you. This monsoon season make smarter dietary choices, which will go a long way in managing the risks associated with osteoarthritis in addition to the risks resulting from fracture in the event of a fall. Along with better fruit and vegetable intake, do not forget to exercise and to rid yourself of those extra kilos which put pressure on your joints and increase your pain. You should also wear supportive footwear and maintain good posture as this will help to reduce the severity of your osteoarthritis symptoms. 

Foods to avoid for osteoarthritis

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