Osteoarthritis & Osteoporosis Prevention

Osteoarthritis and osteoporosis are conditions involving the bone, but one is different from the other. Let us take a look at their differences as well as how to prevent them.

Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease, is a condition affecting your joints. This takes place when the cartilage that protects the ends of your bones break down, making you experience pain. This also may result in inflammation, which can cause swelling and difficulties in moving the joint. It is the most common type of arthritis in all developed countries.

Osteoporosis is a condition that makes your bones weak. As such, when you have osteoporosis, your bones can break more easily. And, you are more likely to get wrist fractures, hip fractures, or fractures of the spinal bones even if you are not involve in any accident or fall.

Besides the pain and reduce mobility that these conditions can cause, treating them can be difficult and expensive and it is often associated with significant side effects. So before you develop any of them, why not take measures to prevent them? And, you can always start today by making some positive changes in your lifestyle.

Diet

Your diet is easily one of the most significant factors in your risk of diseases. You get to prevent a host of diseases if you follow a healthier diet, which generally means more fruits and vegetables and less meat, dairy, and processed foods. Yes that’s right, less dairy! Despite the fact that the dairy industry likes us to believe that milk is the only source of calcium, green leafy vegetables have much more calcium and magnesium than dairy products. Remember that plant-foods, such as vegetables, fruits, and whole grains are generally anti-inflammatory, while meat, dairy, and processed foods tend to be pro-inflammatory. In fact, a study involving 87 surveys in 33 countries found an association between bone fracture rates and the ratio of vegetable to animal protein consumption — the higher the vegetable consumption and the lower the animal protein consumption, the lower the bone fracture rates. In fact according to WHO, all the countries with the highest dairy consumption have also the highest rate of osteoporotic hip fractures.

Whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds

These plant-based foods are excellent sources of phytates, which are antioxidant compounds. Research has shown that those who consume high amounts of phytates tend to have stronger bones and have lower levels of bone loss in their spine and hip. As such, consuming foods high in phytates, such as whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, can help prevent osteoporosis.

Prunes

Speaking of phytates being antioxidant compounds, bone breakdown can also be brought about by having too many free radicals in your body. And of course, antioxidants help get rid of these free radicals. A wide variety of fruits are known to be great sources of antioxidants. And one particular fruit that has been found in studies to have a significant positive effect on bone health is prunes. Research has found that prunes can help with bone formation, thus preventing osteoporosis.

Curcumin & Ginger

Curcumin and ginger can make food tastier, but they can be very healthy, too. Curcumin and ginger have powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, and antioxidant properties. So how does curcumin and ginger help with osteoarthritis? Well, the fatty tissues in your kneecap, for instance, release pro-inflammatory chemicals that contribute to the degradation of your cartilage. What curcumin and ginger can do is stop the release of the chemicals. And, even better, it inhibits the formation of the fatty tissue.

Garlic

Research has shown that consumption of allium vegetables such as garlic can prevent osteoarthritis of the hip. Garlic contains diallyl disulphide, which can help curb the expression of enzymes that damage the cartilage.

What about dairy?

Calcium is known to be an essential mineral for bone health. And, the dairy industry likes us to believe that dairy is the best source of calcium. Many green leafy vegetables have much more calcium than milk. Also the researchers still are concerned about the fact that high intake of any animal proteins tends to create an acidotic condition in the blood and urine, which may contribute towards inflammation and osteoporosis.

Exercise

According to UK’s National Health Services

It’s medically proven that people who do regular physical activity have:

  • up to an 83% lower risk of osteoarthritis
  • up to a 68% lower risk of hip fracture
  • a 30% lower risk of falls (among older adults) 

To maintain your bone health, you need regular exercise. To prevent osteoporosis, it is important to increase your bone density and strength.  bone reacts to exercise similar like a muscle, if you challenges it becomes denser and stronger. Weight-bearing exercises such as walking and dancing are great for preventing osteoporosis, but even better are resistance exercises such as body weight or weight lifting exercises. Another great type of exercise to make your bones stronger are high impact exercises such jumps and punches.

With osteoarthritis, it is important that you control your weight as excess weight can put more strain on your joints, especially those that bear the weight of your body, such as your hips, knees, and joints of the feet. And, regular exercise of course can help you control your weight. And while many are concerned that exercise contributes towards osteoarthritis the truth can be exact the opposite. Strong muscles protect your joints and regular movement is one of the best treatments for the pain caused by osteoarthritis.

Alcohol intake and smoking

Other lifestyle changes that you can make to maintain your bone health are limiting your alcohol consumption and quitting smoking. When you drink too much alcohol, your bone formation decreases. And when you smoke, your bone density decreases, while the rate of your bone loss increases.

There are some things that we just cannot control, so why not focus on the things that we can control. Your family may have a history of osteoarthritis or osteoporosis, but you can always take charge and reduce your risk of these conditions in other ways. Making lifestyle changes may be challenging at first, but the reward is priceless – healthy, happy, pain free life!

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