Almost everyone over the age of 65 knows the feeling. Your knees hurt when you climb stairs, your joints are swollen or stiff. These are the first warning signs of arthritis. People with the condition not only suffer from pain, their mobility is also restricted. The joints most often affected are knees, hips and fingers.
|Fruit in all varieties and colours
|Olive oil, rapeseed oil and linseed oil
|Fatty cheese, cream and butter
|Oily fish such as salmon, sardines and mackerel
|Sugar and sweets
|Whole grains such as brown rice, oats, quinoa, green spelt
|Low fat dairy products such as yoghurt
Reduce inflammation: these nutrients help
Some nutrients are particularly suitable for the treatment of arthritis thanks to their anti-inflammatory properties. Others increase the inflammation and discomfort. So it's worth taking a look at your plate.
There’s a small but subtle difference between the vital unsaturated fatty acids omega-6 and 3. While omega-3 fatty acids inhibit inflammation in the body, omega-6 fatty acids are suspected of promoting inflammation. Omega-6s are hidden as linoleic acid in nuts and red meat. Although you don’t have to give up these foods completely, it’s worth reducing the amount you consume. By contrast, feel free to raise your consumption of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids – deliciously packed in oily fish, linseed oil and chia seeds.
Free radicals are also suspected of being involved in the inflammatory process. Antioxidants are said to protect your cartilage from these harmful substances. Antioxidants include vitamins A, C, E, selenium, zinc, the plant compounds beta-carotene from carrots, spinach and tomatoes and curcumin from turmeric.
Protein is one of the body’s three main nutrients. Protein is needed for the formation of muscles. Vegetable protein – in pulses, tofu or seitan, for example – and fish are particularly helpful for arthritis. Meat contains arachidonic acid, which is considered to be pro-inflammatory.
Although calcium isn't an anti-inflammatory substance, it shouldn’t be missing from this list. Calcium is an important building material for bones and strengthens bone density. Milk, yoghurt, cheese, linseed and almonds contain a lot of calcium.
Less pain when not overweight
Excess fat produces pro-inflammatory hormones that aggravate the symptoms. In combination with exercise, a healthy diet helps you get rid of surplus pounds and maintain your ideal weight. In addition, less weight relieves the joints.
Weight also plays an important role in preventing arthritis, because obesity is a major risk factor for the condition. A 5% weight reduction in 1.5 years can be enough to reduce the risk of arthritis in the knee.