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More natural cures for osteoarthritis


*How low-carb diet, one hour of brisk walk, ginger, other herbal concoctions relieve symptoms

It comes with crippling pain. It causes joint swelling, stiffness, and even severe pain. Osteoarthritis is the most widespread form of arthritis among older adults.There is currently no cure for knee osteoarthritis. Doctors often prescribe pain relievers, such as acetaminophen, opioids, or non-steroidal drugs, to help alleviate symptoms. Knee replacement surgery is also an option.

However, these treatments are either invasive or could cause a range of unwanted side effects. However, researchers have discovered natural cures for osteoarthritis. Top on the list are regular intake of low carbohydrate diet, at least one hour of brisk walk weekly and herbal concoctions containing ginger, turmeric, hot pepper among others.A recent study published in the journal Pain Medicine demonstrated the benefits of a low-carb diet. Dr. Robert Sorge, who is the director of the PAIN Collective in the University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Psychology, led a randomised controlled study that compared the efficacy of two diets: one that is low in carbs and one that is low in fat.

Sorge and colleges tested the benefits of low-carb and low-fat diets among 21 adults aged 65–75 who had knee osteoarthritis.The study participants followed either of the two diets or continued to eat normally for a period of 12 weeks.Every three weeks, Sorge and colleagues analysed the participants’ functional pain — which is pain associated with daily tasks — as well as their self-reported pain, quality of life, and level of depression.

They also examined the participants’ serum blood levels for oxidative stress, both at the beginning and the end of the interventions. Oxidative stress is a chemical imbalance between the production of free radicals and the body’s antioxidant properties.Scientists generally consider oxidative stress to be a marker of biological ageing. In the current study, lower oxidative stress correlated with less functional pain.

The researchers found that the low-carb diet reduced functional pain levels and levels of self-reported pain. The benefits were particularly noticeable, in comparison with the low-fat and regular diets.Finally, when adhering to the low-carb diet, the participants also showed less oxidative stress and lower levels of the adipokine leptin, a hormone with important metabolic functions.

“Our work shows [that] people can reduce their pain with a change in diet,” comments the study’s lead author.“Many medications for pain cause a host of side effects that may require other drugs to reduce. The beneficial side effects of our diet may be things such as reduced risk for heart disease, diabetes and weight loss — something many drugs cannot claim.”“Diet is a great way to reduce the use of pain relievers and to improve general health,” Sorge continued. “Diet will never ‘cure’ pain, but our work suggests it can reduce it to the point where it does not interfere with daily activities to a high degree.”

Among people who consume meat, popular low-carb options include “lean meats, such as sirloin, chicken breast, and pork.” Fish and eggs are also low in carbs, as are leafy green vegetables, including kale and spinach.Cauliflower, broccoli, nuts, seeds, nut butter, coconut oil, olive oil, and dairy products are also good low-carb options. For those who wish to avoid animal products altogether, tofu and tempeh are great low-carb alternatives.

Also, researchers have found that one weekly hour of brisk walking may help seniors with osteoarthritis stay healthy, mobile, and physically able well into older age.The new research examined the benefits of physical activity, such as brisk walking, on mobility and the ability to perform daily tasks among seniors living with knee osteoarthritis.The new research, which appeared in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, examined the effects of physical activity on disability induced by knee osteoarthritis.

Dr. Dorothy Dunlop, a professor of preventive medicine at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, in Chicago, IL, United States, is the lead author of the research.Prof. Dunlop and colleagues analysed data from over 1,500 adults, whose medical information had been collected as part of the national Osteoarthritis Initiative.

The participants all lived with osteoarthritis and experienced pain, aches, and stiffness in their lower extremities as a result. However, they did not have any disability when they started the study.The researchers used accelerometers to monitor the participants’ physical activity and follow them clinically for a period of four years. “Our goal was to see what kind of activity would help people remain free of disability,” explained Dunlop.The analysis revealed that one weekly hour of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity helped the participants maintain standard levels of physical ability.

Participants who got at least this much physical activity had, for instance, no trouble performing daily tasks, such as getting dressed, bathing, walking across the room, or crossing the street swiftly and safely.More specifically, a weekly hour of exercise lowered the risk of mobility-related disability by 85 percent and that of daily living disability but nearly 45 percent. For the participants, an activity such as brisk walking counted as moderate-to-vigorous exercise.

By the end of the study period, 24 percent of the seniors who did not engage in a weekly hour of exercise walked so slowly that they could not cross the street before the traffic lights changed, and 23 percent said that they had trouble performing their regular morning tasks.

“We hope this new public health finding will motivate an intermediate physical activity goal,” she explains. “One hour a week is a stepping stone for people who are currently inactive. People can start to work toward that.”“This is less than 10 minutes a day for people to maintain their independence. It is very doable.“This minimum threshold may motivate inactive older adults to begin their path toward a physically active lifestyle with the wide range of health benefits promoted by physical activity.”

A systematic review of herbal medicines for the treatment of osteoarthritis have demons effectiveness of herbal medicines in the treatment of osteoarthritis The study was published in the journal Rheumatology by L. Long, K. Soeken, and E. Ernst.According to the study, extract of avocado and soya bean, termed avocado/soybean unsaponifiables (ASU), is made of unsaponifiable fractions of avocado oil and soya bean oil.

Preclinical studies suggest that a 1:3 to 2:3 ASU mixtures may be active in osteoarthritis.The review identified capsaicin, which is derived from hot chilli peppers. It is used as a topical analgesic for a variety of conditions characterized by pain. Ginger was also shown to be effective against osteoarthritis. 67 patients with osteoarthritis of the hip or knee were randomized to three treatment periods of three weeks each in a placebo‐controlled crossover study of ginger extracts and ibuprofen.

How can diet help with osteoarthritis? Scientists have found that consuming a balanced and nutritious diet may help prevent further damage to the joints.It is not possible for specific foods or nutritional supplements to cure osteoarthritis, but, according to the Arthritis Foundation, certain diets can improve people’s symptoms.Some foods have anti-inflammatory capabilities, which can help reduce symptoms while other foods may amplify them.

According to a special report by Medical News Today, the right diet can help to improve osteoarthritis in the following ways:
Reducing inflammation and preventing damage. A balanced, nutritious diet will give the body the tools it needs to prevent further damage to the joints, which is essential for people with osteoarthritis.Some foods are known to reduce inflammation in the body, and following an anti-inflammatory diet can improve symptoms. Eating enough antioxidants, including vitamins A, C, and E, may help to prevent further damage to the joints.

Reducing cholesterol
People with osteoarthritis are more likely to have high blood cholesterol, and reducing cholesterol may improve the symptoms of this disease. On the right diet, people can quickly improve their cholesterol levels.

Maintaining a healthy weight
Being overweight can put extra pressure on the joints, and excess fat stores in the body can cause further inflammation. Maintaining a healthy weight can lessen the symptoms of osteoarthritis.Keeping to a healthy weight can be difficult for some people, especially those who have a medical condition that reduces their mobility, such as osteoarthritis. A doctor or dietitian will be able to provide advice.

Eight foods to eat and why
Including specific foods in the diet can strengthen the bones, muscles, and joints and help the body to fight inflammation and disease. People with osteoarthritis can try adding the following eight foods to their diet to ease their symptoms:
*Oily fish: Salmon contains lots of omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties. Oily fish contain lots of healthful omega-3 fatty acids. These polyunsaturated fats have anti-inflammatory properties so they may benefit people with osteoarthritis.People with osteoarthritis should aim to eat at least one portion of oily fish per week. Oily fish include: sardines; mackerel; salmon; and fresh tuna.Those who prefer not to eat fish can take supplements that contain omega-3 instead, such as fish oil, krill oil, or flaxseed oil.

Other sources of omega-3 include chia seeds, flaxseed oil, and walnuts. These foods can also help to fight inflammation.

2. Oils: In addition to oily fish, some other oils can reduce inflammation. Extra virgin olive oil contains high levels of oleocanthal, which may have similar properties to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).Avocado and safflower oils are healthful options and may also help to lower cholesterol.
3. Dairy: Milk, yogurt, and cheese are rich in calcium and vitamin D. These nutrients increase bone strength, which may improve painful symptoms.Dairy also contains proteins that can help to build muscle. People who are aiming to manage their weight can choose low-fat options.
4. Dark leafy greens: Dark leafy greens are rich in Vitamin D and stress-fighting phytochemicals and antioxidants. Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption and can also boost the immune system, helping the body to fight off infection.Dark leafy greens include: spinach; kale; chard and collard greens.
5. Broccoli: Broccoli contains a compound called sulforaphane, which researchers believe could slow the progression of osteoarthritis.

This vegetable is also rich in vitamins K and C, as well as bone-strengthening calcium.
6. Green tea: Polyphenols are antioxidants that experts believe may be able to reduce inflammation and slow the rate of cartilage damage. Green tea contains high levels of polyphenols. Green tea is available for purchase online.
7. Garlic: Scientists believe that a compound called diallyl disulphide that occurs in garlic may work against the enzymes in the body that damage cartilage.
8. Nuts: Nuts are good for the heart and contain high levels of calcium, magnesium, zinc, vitamin E, and fiber. They also contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which boosts the immune system.

What about the Mediterranean diet? Studies have suggested that the Mediterranean diet can reduce the inflammation that contributes to the symptoms of osteoarthritis.As well as helping to reduce the pain associated with osteoarthritis, eating a Mediterranean-style diet offers many other health benefits, including weight loss.Following a Mediterranean diet may also reduce the risk of: heart disease and stroke; muscle weakness in older age; Alzheimer’s disease; Parkinson’s disease; and premature death.

The diet consists of fruit and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, fish, yogurt, and healthful fats, such as olive oil and nuts.
People can make simple changes to their diet to make it more like the Mediterranean one. These may include: eating high-fibre, starchy foods, such as sweet potatoes, potatoes, beans, lentils, and whole-grain bread and pasta; eating plenty of fruit and vegetables; including fish in the diet; eating less meat; choosing products made from vegetable and plant oils, such as olive oil; and selecting whole meal options over those containing refined flour.

The types of food to avoid are those that include the following:
1. Sugar: Processed sugars can prompt the release of cytokines, which act as inflammatory messengers in the body. The sugars that manufacturers add to sweetened beverages, including soda, sweet tea, flavored coffees, and some juice drinks, are the most likely to worsen inflammatory conditions.

2. Saturated fat: Foods high in saturated fat, such as pizza and red meat, can cause inflammation in the fat tissue. As well as contributing to the risk of developing obesity, heart disease, and other conditions, this can make arthritis inflammation worse.
3. Refined carbohydrates: Refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, white rice, and potato chips, fuel the production of advanced glycation end (AGE) oxidants. These can stimulate inflammation in the body.

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