The Importance of Adding Fiber into your Diet for Osteoarthritis

People with osteoarthritis want the same things from life as those without — to play with their grandchildren, take a stroll through the park with their partner, or even walk the streets of Paris for the first time. There are a few medications that doctors can prescribe to manage joint pain and stiffness, but people at risk for osteoporosis don’t have to wait to start preventing it now. And for those who already suffer from it, there’s some good news about how to keep those symptoms in check.

Studies spanning nearly a decade found that a fiber-rich diet led to fewer reports of increasing knee pain over the years in the people surveyed. How is this macronutrient slowing the inevitable downslide? The researchers hypothesized that all that fiber helped keep the participant’s weight down, which means less stress on the joints over time. Instead of focusing on reducing how much people ate or removing food groups, they simply added in something well-known for promoting fullness and satiety.

Weight loss isn’t quite everything this mighty little nutrient might help with, though. Eating a fiber-rich diet can also fight inflammation, which may in turn help with the swelling and joint pain in osteoarthritis.

Before changing your diet, always check with your doctor to make sure the new plan is right for you. If you’re ready to dive in, there are a few extra things to consider. First is that the most effective form of fiber is going to be found in whole foods, plain and simple. That means you can’t necessarily just add another pill to your box and call it a day. And second, any increases in fiber should be done slowly over time to prevent discomfort.

If you’re searching for great options to start adding fiber to your daily diet, think about roasting up brussels sprouts and asparagus, making a black bean filling on taco Tuesday, or adding flax seeds to your breakfast smoothie. Your knees may just thank you for it later.

10-Minute Black Bean Tacos (Serves 4)

1 Tbs olive oil

1/2 large onion, diced

1 1/2 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp kosher salt, plus more as needed

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed

8 corn tortillas

Cook the onions in oil over medium-high heat for 2 minutes before stirring in all spices. Add the beans and ¼ cup water.

Place a lid over the top and simmer over low heat for 5 minutes. Roughly mash the beans and continue simmering until the rest of the water has evaporated. Taste and add extra seasonings if needed.

Heat the tortillas in the microwave over a damp paper towel for 30 seconds at a time. When everything is done, fill the tortillas and top with shredded cabbage, sliced avocado, and your favorite salsa.

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