Following a Healthy, Balanced Diet
While there is no specific diet that can prevent arthritis, it is important that you eat a well-balanced diet and control your weight. A well-balanced diet can help you feel better and can be a positive step in preventing the condition. It can also help you maintain a healthy weight and decrease your chances of developing heart disease or certain types of cancer.
Some suggestions for eating a well-balanced diet include:
- Eating heart-healthy foods, such as:
- Fruits, vegetables, grains, fiber, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products
- Lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts.
- Limiting foods with saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, sodium (salt), and added sugars.
- Limiting your intake of alcohol.
- Eating just enough calories to achieve or maintain a healthy weight. (You should talk with your doctor or a registered dietitian about a reasonable calorie level for your situation.)
Exercise has many benefits for the body. Helping to maintain a healthy weight is among the benefits of exercise that relate specifically to arthritis. Whether exercise has any direct impact on preventing arthritis, however, is not known. Studies have shown that people are no more or less likely to develop knee arthritis if they exercise regularly.
Many people think that exercising regularly means having to do a lot of strenuous exercise every day. This is a myth. A moderate exercise program will help keep your heart and blood vessels in shape and promote a lower blood pressure. The American Heart Association even classifies walking at a brisk pace for 30 to 60 minutes, three days a week, as "regular physical activity."
Also, you don't have to fit all your physical activity into one exercise session. You can break it up into 10-minute sessions or whatever works best for you. Your healthcare provider can help you come up with a good exercise plan to help with arthritis prevention (see Arthritis and Exercise).