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These Simple Dietary Changes May Help Reduce Osteoarthritis Symptoms

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Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, plagues over 30 million adults in the United States.

However, there might be ways to alleviate its symptoms. Researchers from the University of Surrey studied the link between diet and effective self-management of osteoarthritis.

Fish Oil Could Help With Osteoarthritis

After analyzing 68 studies on the same subject, they found that a gram of fish oil a day could reduce the pain osteoarthritis patients experience and even help improve their cardiovascular health.

Get Moving

Another dietary change could help significantly. Obese and overweight osteoarthritis patients may ease the symptoms of their disease if they shed pounds and start exercising. Obesity is known to worsen osteoarthritis as it can cause more strain on joints and trigger low-grade, systemic inflammation in the body.

The researchers found that a calorie-restricted diet, on top of strengthening, flexibility, and aerobic exercises, is effective approaches in pain reduction for overweight patients.

Vitamin K

Aside from fish oil, the researchers also found that eating kale, spinach, and parsley — foods rich in vitamin K — delivers positive health benefits to osteoarthritis patients.

"We are what we eat and it is important that we have the right amount of nutrients from our food to ensure that our body systems work as they should," said Margaret Rayman, a nutritional medicine professor at the University of Surrey.

Good diet and exercise must go hand-in-hand, according to musculoskeletal physiology professor Ali Mobasheri.

"[Y]ou can't have healthy joints with just one, you need both."

The findings were published in the Rheumatology journal. Below are the points of the research:

• Overweight and obese OA patients should implement a weight-loss strategy incorporating exercise tailored to mobility.

• Increasing consumption of long-chain n-3 fatty-acids (oily fish/fish oil supplements) may improve pain and function in OA patients.

• Reducing raised blood cholesterol and increasing intake of rich vitamin K sources may benefit OA.

It should be noted that fish oil and vitamin K-rich vegetables mentioned above aren't supposed to be treated as a cure for osteoarthritis. Consuming them will yield positive benefits, of course, but they shouldn't be taken as miracle solutions.

What's more, a person who suffers from the condition must also evaluate their lifestyle and consider getting rid of bad habits, including heavy drinking and smoking.

There is currently no treatment for osteoarthritis. Painkillers are often used to alleviate symptoms of pain, but there is no known cure for the condition.

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