More than 15 years ago, when my colleagues and I wrote one of the first self-help books for people considering joint replacement, we decided we could summarize our advice in two words: STAY ACTIVE. At the time, the advice was novel - most doctors were counseling patients against exercise or telling them to “take it easy” on their joints.
The link between what you eat and how you feel is real, which is great news for people with arthritis. Research suggests that anti-inflammatory diets (low in sugars, carbohydrates and gluten and high in omega-3 fatty acids, olive oils and fiber) can help reduce joint pain and stiffness. Besides a healthful boost, this type of diet almost always leads to some surprising and rapid weight loss, taking pressure off bones and joints. Don’t be intimidated by the mistaken idea that you have to lose 25 lbs, an especially difficult task when joint pain restricts how much exercise you can do. The rule of thumb is that every 1 lb of weight loss reduces the force distributed through the hip, for example, three-fold. A little bit of weight loss has a big impact!
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