Mediterranean diet reduces inflammation and degradation of cartilage in osteoarthritis patients
11/18/2018 // Zoey Sky // Views

Patients with osteoarthritis often rely on medication to manage the painful symptoms of the disease. These drugs often include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and analgesics. While the medication can offer short-term benefits such as pain management, these drugs still can't halt the progression of osteoarthritis. If the study is successful, patients with the condition can have a safer alternative to help them manage their condition since the use of NSAIDs are linked to various adverse side effects.

According to a recent study, individuals with osteoarthritis who follow a Mediterranean diet can help minimize inflammation and reduce cartilage degradation.

The research team advised that the diet can help patients lose weight. This weight loss can then be crucial to helping them manage the pain caused by osteoarthritis in a natural way.

The study, which was published in The Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging, posited that proper nutrition can help make some chronic diseases more manageable. For example, a Mediterranean diet that consists of "vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, olive oil, and fish, and less red meat" has been connected to the effective reduction of joint inflammation in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. (Related: Another reason to go Mediterranean: Research shows the diet helps protect older adults from becoming frail, prolonging health and independence.)

In this study, researchers set out to monitor the effects of a Mediterranean diet on volunteers aged 31 to 90 years old with osteoarthritis. The study was completed by 99 volunteers, 83 percent of which were female.


For the study, the dietary intervention (DIET) group was made up of 50 patients who maintained a Mediterranean diet for 16 weeks. On the other hand, the control (CON) group was made up of 49 participants who followed their normal diet.

The participants were also asked to keep a seven-day food diary. The diary functioned as a food frequency questionnaire. The patients also accomplished an Arthritis Impact Measurement Scale (AIMS2) questionnaire when the study began (pre-intervention), mid-point (after two months), and end (after four months) of the study.

Both the food diaries and AIMS2 questionnaires were then completed by an Arthritis Action staff member who was unaware of the group allocation. The food diaries were also given an appropriate compliance score, which ranged from 0 to 100). Arthritis Action is a group in the U.K. that helps individuals with arthritis improve their quality of life.

The researchers recorded noteworthy improvements in the DIET group for the range of movement (ROM) at the hip (rotation) and knee (flexion). This implies a crucial benefit of the dietary intervention. The main findings of the present study showed that the dietary intervention effectively changed the eating habits of participants in the DIET group, and this change was linked to weight loss.

However, the weight loss can only benefit osteoarthritis patients if they lose at least 10 percent of their body mass. Although reductions in body mass alone are possible contributors, the findings of the study suggest that other factors in the DIET group also contributed to the reduction in serum cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (sCOMP), an indicator of cartilage degradation.

This only highlights the importance of body mass reduction, and the study illustrated that following a Mediterranean diet can indeed offer benefits for patients with osteoarthritis. If patients follow the diet and engage in activities that can promote greater weight loss, such as regular exercise, this intervention might be even more effective.

While the dietary intervention helped improve the eating habits of the patients with osteoarthritis and encouraged weight loss, the researchers state that further study can also determine the long-term effects of this intervention.

What is the Mediterranean diet?

The Mediterranean diet is an eating plan that encourages the consumption of locally grown fruits and vegetables along with healthy fats like olive oil and nuts. The diet also includes whole grains, some fish, yogurt, and red wine.

People in Greece and southern Italy have followed this diet for centuries, and some say it's the reason for their longevity and low rates of dementia, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

The diet can help fight diseases thanks to the anti-inflammatory foods that it focuses on such as berries, fish, and olive oil. The diet also excludes or limits pro-inflammatory foods such as most dairy, red meat, and sugar.

You can read more articles about how to eat healthy and disease prevention at

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