Diet for Osteoarthritis

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Diet for Osteoarthritis

written by: Donna Clarke • edited by: DaniellaNicole • updated: 1/17/2011

Do you have osteoarthritis? Have you been told a change in diet may help? With nutritional knowledge comes the power of knowing you can feel better. A diet for osteoarthritis can help you slow the progression of this potentially debilitating disease with delicious foods beneficial for your health.

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    What is Osteoarthritis?

    Osteoarthritis is the breakdown of joint cartilage, which is also referred to as wear-and-tear arthritis or degenerative joint disease. This disease occurs as the result of cartilage loss. Since cartilage cushions the joints during movement, this loss of cartilage causes joint pain and other symptoms.

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    What Does Food Have to Do With It

    Diet is a major play in most medical conditions. In other words, we really are what we eat. If you are one of the millions of people facing the daily challenges of osteoarthritis, you can take several steps to better health by simply adjusting your diet. While diet alone cannot completely eliminate this condition, it can help to slow its progression. Many experts also believe that a heart-healthy diet is a cartilage-healthy diet.

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    Osteoarthritis Diet Planning

    First and foremost, try to remove any and all foods that can cause inflammation. This is because inflammation will exacerbate your symptoms. These foods include wheat products, whole dairy products, and nightshade vegetables such as potatoes, eggplant, green peppers, and tomatoes. You will also want to avoid foods high in saturated fat and sodium. This will help you to avoid water retention and weight gain, which puts additional strain on your joints.

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    Acceptable Foods

    After eliminating some of the foods from your diet, it may seem like there's nothing left to eat. How about trying one of these delicious and healthy foods:

    • green vegetables
    • carrots
    • avocado
    • cucumbers
    • fruits
    • beans
    • barley
    • whole grains
    • fish
    • seeds
    • lean meats
    • poultry

    Experts haven't come to a consensus on cranberries, nuts and spinach yet. Some believe these foods are beneficial, while others believe that they promote inflammation.

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      What Should Spinach Lovers Do?

      What can you do if you love spinach? An easy trick is to remove spinach from your diet for approximately 30 days. At the end of this period, slowly add it back to your diet, one dish at a time. Wait three days after eating spinach before you eat it again, keeping a journal of how you feel during this time. If you find that you enjoy spinach without suffering any ill effects, then keep eating it. If you find that your arthritis flares up after eating spinach, omit it from your diet.

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      Recipe Ideas

      Breakfast: Omelet made with two egg whites; fresh nectarine slices; one cup of decaffeinated coffee or tea

      Lunch: Tuna salad with reduced fat mayonnaise on a bed of lettuce; sliced cucumber and radish

      Dinner: Skinless grilled chicken breast; barley mixed with sliced grilled pear and drizzled with honey

      Dessert: Baked apple filled with sweetened, glazed pecans

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      You Are What You Eat

      The adage may be old, but the wisdom is still there. You really are what you eat. Take the first step to better health by creating your own diet for osteoarthritis and controlling your symptoms. Your dietary changes may help to keep your heart in good shape, further reducing inflammation and decreasing the risk for serious complications.

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