According to researchers being even moderately overweight can cause increased pain in arthritis. People who are 20% or more over their normal bodyweight tend to have more problems with their arthritic condition. Excess bodyweight puts extra strain on the weight bearing joints (like knee, leg, feet and spine) and hence, increases pain.
Studies have shown that while walking hips, knees, and ankles bear three to five times a person’s total body weight. Being overweight further increases this extra load on the joints. Various studies have shown that losing extra weight reduces the additional load on the joints and thus helps in slowing the progression of arthritis.
Ideally, a reasonable time frame for a 10 percent reduction in body weight is 6 months of treatment. The amount of weight loss should be around 0.5 to 1 kg or 1-2 lbs per week. Cutting down your caloric intake by 500 calories/day will lead to a loss of half kg a week. Following tips will help you in achieving this goal:
- Exercise for at least 30 minutes 4-5 days in a week. This will not only help in losing weight but also in strengthening your joints and bones.
- Eat three healthy, balanced meals and avoid snacking in between meals.
- Try to avoid saturated fats present in full fat dairy products, meats and poultry products.
- Take diet rich in omega 3 fatty acids (such as vegetable oils, nuts and fatty fish) and calcium and vitamin D (such as milk and milk-based products, green leafy vegetables, mackerel and other oily fish).
- Eat only lean cuts of red meat in small quantities.
- Avoid frying and adopt healthy methods of cooking such as steaming, grilling, baking, or microwaving.
- Take plenty of vegetables, grain products and fruits.
- Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water per day. Apart from being healthy, it also helps to suppress the appetite.
- Limit your salt intake; too much salt can cause retention of fluid causing swelling.