Your Kitchen Action Plan
Stock the Crisper
Fruits and veggies are the absolute best sources of antioxidants and joint-boosting nutrients. Be sure you keep a variety on hand at all times, but pay extra attention to the vitamin C, A and K powerhouses.
Dark leafy greens, broccoli, carrots and sweet potatoes bring a lot to the table, but so do citrus fruits and apples. Some studies suggest that strawberries and onion can directly lower joint inflammation levels, too. Try to build more meals on a foundation of veggies, rather than simply serving them on the side.
Cut out Sauces
Trying to shed a few pounds? Start by simplifying your dishes.
Sauces, condiments, and other flavorful additions can really make a meal — but they can break your low-cal intentions just as easily. It’s a good idea to eliminate all butter, oil, mayonnaise, and sugar-based sauces (which comprises most of the store-bought sauces out there).
If you can’t swear off sauces completely, try supplementing with fresh herb pestos, a dash or two of chili sauce, or pungent spices — ginger and turmeric are especially good for beating inflammation.
Don’t Shy Away From Good Fats
Fat is no longer the enemy it was once made out to be. However, certain types of fat are definitely better than others — both for your waistline and for your whole-body health.
Olive oil is one of the most helpful fats out there, largely due to the concentration of oleocanthal — a compound that helps to prevent inflammation. Pick strongly-flavored olive oils for higher levels of oleocanthal, and in order to save on calories, you’ll want to use it in place of other fats (oils, butter, animal fat) rather than simply add more to your diet.
Lower the Heat
When certain foods are cooked at high temperatures, they release undesirable inflammatory compounds. Meat is the major culprit, and since it’s not unusual to grill or broil it, you might be taking in these advanced glycation end products (AGEs) on a regular basis without even realizing it.
You don’t have to adopt a raw food diet, but so try to retrain the flame when it comes to cooking methods: opt for gentle sautéing instead of pan searing, or slow roasting over broiling and grilling.
Joint-friendly supplements can be a nice finishing touch to a well-constructed OA diet plan. Evidence suggests that supplementing with glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate can go far to restoring range of motion and preventing further degradation, since these two compounds are components of natural cartilage.
Since glucosamine and chondroitin stimulate your body to form new cartilage, they can be very helpful when there’s evidence that your joints have already lost a substantial amount of cushioning. Both supplements are considered quite safe and are generally very well-tolerated, but since studies have been limited, there’s no guarantee you’ll see remarkable results.
In any case, patience and persistence are crucial when you’re adjusting your diet and supplements for OA management. You might not see results for several weeks, so stick with your healthy changes — eventually, your body will thank you for fueling it properly.