The key ingredient to diet and osteoarthritis is achieving a healthy weight. Excess weight puts stress on joints and causes pain, especially on knees. Even losing a little weight can reduce the risk of developing osteoarthritis.
Try these small changes to lose weight:
1) Eat a smaller portion at each meal.
2) Substitute a higher calorie snack with a fresh fruit.
3) Swap a sugary beverage like soda with water.
4) Start a food diary to help put you in control of your eating habits.
5) Try this meal planning tactic: section your plate in quarters and filling one with a whole grain (such as brown rice), another with a lean protein (such as chicken or fish) and the last two with non-starchy vegetables or fruit. This method helps with portion control and favors nutrition-rich, low-fat foods.
A Mediterranean style diet has been linked to a reduced risk of some forms of arthritis, especially rheumatoid arthritis. The foundation for this diet includes legumes, a variety of fruits and vegetables, nuts, whole grains, lean protein (especially fish) and small amounts of low-fat dairy. The main fat source of this diet is olive oil, which is very low in saturated fat and high in antioxidants.
This meal plan provides fiber, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants, and limits processed foods and those high in sugars. A favorite Mediterranean meal of mine is a hearty bowl of lentil soup with a small piece of crispy whole grain bread and olives, and a fruit for dessert.
Sotiria Everett is a registered dietitian and nutritionist at the Women’s Sports Medicine Center at Hospital for Special Surgery.