Arthritis and diet: what to eat when your joints ache

Ernährung bei Arthrose: Was essen, wenn die Gelenke schmerzen.

A balanced diet is essential for good health. For people with arthritis, eating the right food helps the treatment.

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.

90% of people over 65 suffer from arthritis, some more advanced than others.
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Fruit in all varieties and colours Red meat
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 Alcohol
Low fat dairy products such as yoghurt Processed foods

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.

1. Fats

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.

2. Antioxidants

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.

3. Protein

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.

4. Calcium

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.

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