High-fiber diet protects against knee osteoarthritis! Here’s how much you should eat per day…
What is Osteoarthritis?
Sometimes called degenerative joint disease or degenerative arthritis, osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common chronic condition of the joints, affecting approximately 27 million Americans.
OA can affect any joint, but it occurs most often in knees, hips, lower back and neck, small joints of the fingers and the bases of the thumb and big toe. In normal joints, a firm, rubbery material called cartilage covers the end of each bone. Cartilage provides a smooth, gliding surface for joint motion and acts as a cushion between the bones.
In OA, the cartilage breaks down, causing pain, swelling and problems moving the joint. As OA worsens over time, bones may break down and develop growths called spurs. Bits of bone or cartilage may chip off and float around in the joint. In the body, an inflammatory process occurs and cytokines (proteins) and enzymes develop that further damage the cartilage.
In the final stages of OA, the cartilage wears away and bone rubs against bone leading to joint damage and more pain.
Although OA occurs in people of all ages, osteoarthritis is most common in people older than 65. Common risk factors include increasing age, obesity, previous joint injury, overuse of the joint, weak thigh muscles, and genes.
One in two adults will develop symptoms of knee OA during their lives.
One in four adults will development symptoms of hip OA by age 85.
One in 12 people 60 years or older have hand OA.
Research published in a new edition of the Annals of Rheumatic Disease showed that individuals who ate high fiber diets were 30-60% less likely to have knee osteoarthritis than their low-fiber diet counterparts.
Knee osteoarthritis is an extremely common condition that plagues much of the aging population. The news that simply adding fiber to your diet could prevent the pain and inflammation associated with this condition is somewhat of an unexpected link. Researchers drew from two very large, long-term observational studies to find the correlation.
Exactly how fiber prevents degenerative joint conditions is unclear. But it could have something to do with eating more whole food plants, which are naturally high in fiber and offer a plethora of nutrients that reduce inflammation and other health benefits.
“Increasing dietary fiber is one of the most economical ways to reduce the pain of knee osteoarthritis,” said the lead author, Zhaoli Dai, a postdoctoral fellow at Boston University. “And there are a lot of other benefits as well — reduced weight, reduced cardiovascular risk, reduced diabetes risk.”
Currently dietary recommendations encourage 25-30 grams of fiber per day.