Healthy eating and arthritis
Eating a balanced diet and maintaining a healthy weight can have a huge impact on health and wellbeing. Here, we look at how healthy eating can help reduce the symptoms of arthritis.
This is a condensed version. To read the full version, download our Healthy Eating and Arthritis booklet here.
In this section:
- A healthy lifestyle
- A healthy diet
- Links between diet and arthritis
- Sources of further help and information
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important when you have arthritis – it will help you manage your condition and stop it getting worse. By eating a varied diet, taking the right amount of exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight, you should be able to enjoy generally good health.
Achieving a healthy body weight
Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is one of the most effective things you can do to reduce the symptoms of arthritis, particularly osteoarthritis. Just losing a small amount of weight can reduce strain on your back or in the joints of your legs. Making sure you are not underweight will help give your body the strength needed to get through a flare-up.
There are many different guides to determining if a person’s weight is considered to be within a healthy range. One of most commonly used indicators is the body mass index (BMI).
Controlling calorie intake
A reasonably active woman needs an intake of around 2,000 calories per day, and a reasonably active man needs around 2,500 calories. But these are average guidelines; every individual has unique nutritional requirements, depending on age, gender, body size and level of activity.
People with arthritis benefit from three types of exercise:
- Stretching exercises – to ease joint pain and improve joint movement
- Strengthening exercises – to keep your muscles strong, which will help relieve stress and pain in your joints (such as Pilates)
- Aerobic exercises – to achieve and maintain general fitness (such as walking, cycling or general fitness classes).