Shedding pounds comes with a whole lot of incredible benefits than just fitting into smaller-sized clothes. Experts say weight loss also alleviates the risk associated with obesity-related diseases like hypertension, high LDL cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, stroke, coronary artery disease, etc. Not just these, there are more health benefits – one of them is prevention and relieving symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee. Studies have shown that there’s a strong link between obesity and joint pain and being overweight increases the risk factor for developing osteoarthritis 4 times in women and about 5 times in men! See it like this, when weight increases, so does the pressure on the joints, particularly on the knees. Studies have shown that with every 5 kg of weight gain, there’s approximately 36% increase in the risk of developing knee osteoarthritis. This happens because with increased weight, the cartilage in the knee joint starts to wear out, the cushioning in between breaks down, causing the bones to rub against each other. This friction causes inflammation, pain, swelling, and stiffness. Reports say if an individual’s BMI is over 30, there’s a 7x more risk of developing osteoarthritis. But can losing weight help with knee arthritis? Can reducing overall weight take the pressure of the joints and reduce inflammation and swelling of the joints? Let’s find out:
What Happens in Knee Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis of the knee, is a degenerative condition that affects the knee joint. It is one of the most common forms of arthritis (hip, hands, spine, shoulders, wrist and elbows are other areas where people develop osteoarthritis). This happens occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of bones in the knee joint deteriorates over time. As the cartilage wears away, the bones can begin to rub against each other, causing pain, swelling, stiffness, inflammation, affecting mobility.
Can Weight Loss Help With Knee Osteoarthritis?
Yes! Weight loss significantly decreases knee pain associated with osteoarthritis. The good news is that with every pound of weight lost, there’s a fourfold reduction on the pressure on the knee per step. That means you can alleviate symptoms like stiffness, swollen, and painful joints by losing a few pounds. There was a significant study that got published in an arthritis-based journal, where overweight individuals who lost one pound of weight got to take off 4 pounds off pressure from their knees. So, losing around 4.5 kgs would relieve 18 kgs of pressure from the knees! Beat that!
There’s another study from the journal Arthritis Care and Research that found that people with knee osteoarthritis who were also overweight experienced less pain and inflammation and better knee function when they lost weight. Also, people who managed to shed 20% or more of body weight, achieved 25% reduction in osteoarthritis.
It’s a fact that decreasing overall body weight and increasing physical activity provides relief in the symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee. In fact, exercise can strengthen muscles that support the joints, thereby reducing pain and improve physical function.
That’s why, weight loss is recommended as the first line of treatment to prevent and alleviate symptoms of knee osteoarthritis. Among other treatments, using medications, knee brace, doing physical therapy, losing weight is highly recommended. And if you can lose weight by being on a nutrient-dense diet, that would help you alleviate symptoms of osteoarthritis as well, what else is there to wish for?
Eating the right kind of nutrients from food can help fight inflammation and help build strong cartilage.
In fact, there’s a whole lot of foods out there that help you lose weight and help with knee osteoarthritis as well.
Dietary fiber also lowers the risk of symptomatic osteoarthritis by lowering inflammation.
Soy-based food, tofu and tempeh for example, is rich in protein, fiber, healthy fats and benefits people with osteoarthritis by decreasing the symptoms. Seeds like sesame have a compound called “sesamin” helps to protect the knee cartilage. Also read: “10 High-Protein Breakfast Ideas For Weight Loss.”
Antioxidants found in blueberries, strawberries, red cabbage, beans, spinach, fight oxidative stress and protect the joints from further damage. Omega-3 fatty acids from fish, seeds, nuts, fight inflammation. Olive oil has a compound called oleocanthal, which mimics the anti-inflammatory effect as ibuprofen (medication used to treat inflammatory diseases like osteoarthritis), and protects your heart at the same time. Vitamin C from oranges, broccoli, strawberries, peppers, and other citrusy fruits help build collagen and connective tissue. Berries, broccoli, avocados, mushrooms, turmeric, cherries, have good anti-inflammatory effects. Green leafy vegetables carotenoids that fight inflammation. Fruits like apple have a compound called quercetin that has strong antioxidant activity.
Pineapple is a fruit with an enzyme called bromelain which has powerful proteolytic activity and reduces swelling and inflammation of the knee causes by osteoarthritis. Also read: “6 Best Fruits To Eat As Snacks For Weight Loss.”
So, if weight loss is on your mind, and you want to do so by consuming nutrient-dense food, subscribe to the diet plans on the Rati Beauty app. Download the app for more details.
So, answering the above question, yes, losing weight does help to alleviate symptoms associated with knee osteoarthritis and also prevents development of this inflammatory disorder in an individual as he/she ages.