How to Prevent Arthritis with Diet and Exercise

By Sherry Baker @SherryNewsViews
June 21, 2023
How to Prevent Arthritis with Diet and Exercise

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of painful arthritis. Here’s how to prevent arthritis with a healthy diet, regular exercise, and weight control. 

Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, affects more than 22 percent of Americans, according to the National Institutes of Health. It’s caused when cartilage, the joint-cushioning tissue between bones, wears away. The result is bones rubbing against each other, causing stiffness and pain.

While long thought to be a disease resulting from the wearing and tearing of joints over time, researchers now think your lifestyle — specifically, what you eat and whether you are sedentary — plays an important role in whether osteoarthritis develops and that, with lifestyle changes, you can learn how to prevent arthritis.


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Research on osteoarthritis

Ali Mobasheri, PhD, and colleagues at the University of Surrey in the UK identified a crucial association between the development of osteoarthritis and changes in body metabolism fueled by a typical modern diet of refined foods and excess calories, along with too little exercise.

"It is important never to underestimate the significance of a healthy diet and lifestyle, as not only does it impact upon our general well-being but can alter the metabolic behavior of our cells, tissues, and organs leading to serious illnesses," said Mobasheri, a professor of musculoskeletal physiology at the University of Surrey.

Metabolic changes related to being overweight and sedentary impact your body on a cellular level, Mobasheri and his team explained in their research paper. Those changes raise the risk of metabolic syndrome. The condition, which is linked to low-level chronic inflammation in the body, is a cluster of symptoms that includes:

The lifestyle-linked metabolic changes also raise abnormal levels of lactic acid, causing inflammation of joint cartilage and pain.

Obese individuals have an increased risk of developing osteoarthritis of the hands and wrists, even though those joints are not weight bearing and not susceptible to the wear and tear of other areas of your body, the researchers pointed out.

"For too long osteoarthritis has been known as the 'wear and tear disease,' and it has been assumed that it is part and parcel of getting older,” Mobasheri said. “However, this is not the case, and what we have learned is that we can control and prevent the onset of this painful condition.”

How to prevent arthritis

The study suggests that keeping weight under control, increasing physical activity, and eating a healthy diet could help you learn how to prevent arthritis.

Eating plenty of fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, and whole grains could be an important part of lowering your risk for painful osteoarthritis.


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June 21, 2023

Reviewed By:  

Christopher Nystuen, MD, MBA