The Link Between Your Diet and Arthritis

According to the CDC, about a quarter of Americans have arthritis, which means well over 50 million adults are dealing with symptoms of joint discomfort and debility every day of their lives. Medication and physical therapy can help relieve symptoms to a large extent. And believe it or not, so can your diet.

As a leading orthopedic specialist in Houston and Sugar Land, Texas, J. Michael Bennett, MD, PA, helps men and women manage their arthritis symptoms with a custom-tailored combination of medical care and lifestyle treatments for greater mobility and improved quality of life. If you have arthritis, here’s how your eating habits could be affecting your symptoms — and what you can do about it.

Diet and arthritis: A complex link

We all know how important it is to maintain a healthy diet. But what’s not always so clear is how our diet could be affecting our health. With arthritis, what you eat could affect your symptoms in several ways.

Excess pounds

Weight gain is perhaps the most obvious link between diet and arthritis symptoms. Even a few extra pounds can have a tremendous impact on your joint health, especially when it comes to your knees, hips, ankles, and even your spine. 

Those extra pounds create a lot of pressure on your legs’ joints,  and most importantly on the protective cartilage that lines them. In healthy joints, this cartilage layer helps your joints bend and flex smoothly, keeping friction to a minimum. 

Excess weight increases the strain on your cartilage, causing the protective layer to break down over time. That means more friction inside your joints, leading to pain and inflammation. In turn, the increase in inflammation leads to more arthritic damage, which leads to more pain — and so on, in an ongoing cycle.

Not surprisingly, losing weight can have the opposite effect, decreasing the stress and strain inside your joints to help preserve cartilage and improve joint function.

Food sensitivities

Some foods — even “healthy” ones — can trigger an inflammatory response in certain men and women, increasing joint inflammation and pain risk. If you have food allergies or sensitivities, those foods could be affecting the number of joint symptoms you experience. Some possible culprits include:

If your diet includes foods known to cause sensitivities, you could try eliminating those foods from your diet, one by one, to see if your symptoms improve.

Joint-healthy foods

While unhealthy eating habits can hurt your arthritis symptoms, following a healthy eating plan can support better joint health. Many foods have been shown to help decrease inflammation, including:

Incorporating more whole grains and more vegetables can also help by supporting overall and maintaining a healthy weight.

Find relief for your arthritis symptoms

Don’t let arthritis pain and stiffness interfere with your life. With a custom treatment plan from Dr. Bennett, you can learn effective ways to manage your symptoms and prevent future joint damage, so you can get back to the activities you love. To find out how, call the office or use our online form to schedule an appointment today.

You Might Also Enjoy...

What is PRP and How Can It Benefit You?

Platelet-rich plasma, or PRP, offers plenty of benefits for people with sports injuries, joint damage, and other musculoskeletal problems. Here’s the scoop on this innovative and effective treatment, including how it’s “made” and what it treats.

What Every Athlete Should Know About Their ACL

ACL tears are among the most common knee injuries, affecting athletes of all ages and all levels. Knowing how the ACL “works” and how it’s injured might prevent injuries so that you can avoid the sidelines.

Treatment For Your Elbow Injury

You use your elbows a lot, which means even a minor injury can take a significant toll on your life. Fortunately, today there are lots of options for treating elbow injuries, including nonsurgical options. If you have elbow pain, read on.

How PRP Can Help Your Sports Injuries

If you’re an athlete, you likely know all about strains, sprains, muscle tears, and other sports injuries. Learn how our team can use your own blood to help you heal with PRP therapy.

Life after Tommy John Surgery

If you’ve torn your ulnar collateral ligament in your elbow, Tommy John surgery repairs it. Learn how the injury occurs and what you can expect after you heal.