A recent research lead by Dr. Zhaoli Dai of The University in Boston has shown that older people who eat the most fiber are at lower risk of developing knee pain and stiffness due to osteoarthritis in the knee.
It’s well known that diets rich in fiber have clear health benefits, such as lower cholesterol, better-controlled blood sugar and a healthier weight. However in the U.S. most of the people don’t eat enough fiber, leading them to health complications and often visits to the doctor’s office.
Having a diet rich in fiber is well known to help prevent obesity and reduce inflammation, both of which are associated with arthritis.
Dr. Dai’s Osteoarthritis Initiative included 4,796 men and women with osteoarthritis or risk of having osteoarthritis, people who consumed the most fiber at the start of the study were 30 percent less likely than those who ate the least fiber to develop knee pain, stiffness or swelling due to osteoarthritis, or to worsening of OA, during four years of follow-up.
There are many mechanisms through which increased fiber intake could help ease knee arthritis symptoms, Dr.Dai said, for example by reducing inflammation and helping people to maintain a healthy weight. Fiber can also act as a pre-biotic, she added, meaning that it can help fuel the growth of beneficial microbes in the gut, which in turn also reduces inflammation.
Dr. Dai explains that this is the first study to show that consuming more fiber in their diet is related to lower risk of painful knee osteoarthritis. Changing diets by increasing intake of fiber foods seems to be one of the most economic ways to reduce the risk of knee osteoarthritis. Older adults, especially those who are overweight or obese, should consider increasing their fiber intake.