Stay at a healthy weight
Excess bodyweight puts extra pressure on your cartilage. In fact, being just ten pounds overweight can increase the force on your knees between 20 and 30 pounds with every step, says Dominic King, DO, medical orthopaedic physician at Cleveland Clinic Sports Health Center. “By keeping your weight down, you’re keeping the appropriate amount of weight that your knees are designed to handle,” he says. Not only that, but excess weight—especially around the belly—creates inflammation that stresses the cartilage, says Jason Theodosakis, MD, board-certified physician and author of The Arthritis Cure. Try these weight-loss tricks that don’t include diet and exercise.
Start a Mediterranean diet
Claims about superfoods that can stop inflammation make sense for digestive-related inflammation like celiac disease. But there haven’t been enough large studies to prove anti-inflammatory foods will help your cartilage, says Dr. King. Any eating plan that keeps you at a healthy weight will help, though, he says. Dr. Theodosakis recommends a Mediterranean diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats. Even if its anti-inflammatory effects don’t directly strengthen your cartilage, it can protect against heart disease, dementia, depression, and more. “The Mediterranean diet isn’t a fad diet—it’s a broad diet with lots of evidence for helping many other conditions besides just arthritis,” says Dr. Theodosakis. “It’s a good basis for a diet and something people can do their whole lives.” Stay away from these foods if you want to lose weight.