Chronic pain is the most common health complaint in the U.S. More than 100 million Americans suffer from it.1
And one condition causes more pain in more people than any other by far. It’s osteoarthritis. More than 30 million Americans adults have it.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is associated with aging. It’s often called “wear and tear” arthritis. The most common symptoms are pain and stiffness in the hips, knees, or lower back, particularly first thing in the morning.
Doctors often prescribe painkillers for OA. In severe cases, they recommend joint replacement surgery.
But arthritis medications have all kinds of unhealthy side effects. They include heart problems and addiction. And studies show that joint replacement surgery often results in little—if any—improvement.2
Now, new research points to a safe, natural solution.
Scientists from Tufts University in Boston and the University of Manchester in Britain teamed up to study the effects of a fiber-rich diet on knee arthritis.3
They followed about 6,000 subjects for up to nine years. The average age of the participants was about 60.
First, they determined the participants’ fiber intake using a self-reporting questionnaire. Then they assessed the patients’ degree of OA through X-rays and physical symptoms.
They also collected health data on other factors that might influence OA. These included injuries, medications, lifestyle, alcohol consumption, and exercise.
The study found that eating more fiber dramatically reduces knee pain caused by arthritis. Subjects who ate the most fiber reduced their chances of OA pain by more than 60%.4
Dr. Zhaoli Dai is a researcher at the Nutrition Research Center on Aging and Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. He led the study.
“Increasing dietary fiber is one of the most economical ways to reduce the pain of knee osteoarthritis,” he said. “And there are a lot of other benefits as well—reduced weight, reduced cardiovascular risk, reduced diabetes risk.”5
The study recently was published in the journal Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.
Fiber Fights Inflammation
Researchers say fiber reduces inflammation, which in turn lessens the chances of developing of OA. It also helps control weight. Every extra pound that we carry puts additional stress on our joints and increases wear and tear over time.
Inflammation is at the root of other illnesses as well. They include heart disease, arthritis, and cancer. Eating more fiber helps people maintain a healthy weight, stable blood sugar, and good digestion.
But not all fiber is created equal. Many mainstream doctors will tell you to eat grains to get fiber. This is a mistake. Grains, whether processed or whole, increase inflammation.
What’s more, wheat, barley, and rye contain gluten. This protein causes digestive trouble in many people.
The best sources of beneficial fiber are low-sugar fruits, organic leafy green vegetables, raw nuts, and seeds.
9 High-Fiber Foods That Stop Arthritis
Men should get about 38 grams of fiber a day. Women need about 25 grams. These nine healthy foods are packed with fiber:
- Almonds (3.4 grams per ounce)
- Artichokes (14 grams per cup)
- Prunes (12 grams per cup)
- Flaxseeds (2.7 grams per tablespoon)
- Apples (5 grams per medium apple. Be sure to eat the peel. That’s where most of the fiber is.)
- Broccoli (5 grams per ounce)
- Chickpeas (11 grams per cup)
- Peas (9 grams per cup)
- Raspberries (8 grams per cup)
Editor’s Note: Eating more fiber isn’t the only way to stay healthy as you get older… Researchers in Wisconsin revealed they found a way to reverse up to 20 years of aging in just 6 months in a random group of men as old as 81.
Go here to discover how to ramp up your body’s production of this age-reversing compound on your own—without a doctor.