Southampton researchers have found a link between eating a Mediterranean diet and lower risk of knee osteoarthritis in later life.
Preventing joint pain
Osteoarthritis is very common in older age, affecting 8.75 million people in the UK – around a 1 in three of over 45s.
It sees the joints become damaged, thinning the protective cartilage layer and causing swelling and stiffness. This leads to pain in the joints and difficulty moving around.
Knees are particularly prone, as these joints take the most stress and strain during the course of a person’s life, affecting just over half of all people seeking treatment.
Benefits of a Mediterranean diet
The native diet of people in the Mediterranean is widely considered to be healthy, rich in plant and fish oils it is known to help prevent a range of conditions, including type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
This study, published in the journal Clinical Nutrition, indicates that it is likely to be beneficial for preventing knee osteoarthritis - the more ‘Mediterranean’ a person’s diet, the less likely they were to develop the condition.
Large scale research
Information was collected using a survey on the diets of 4358 North American people from the Osteoarthritis Initiative dataset, with an average age of 61 years, from four different sites in the USA.
The survey asked them to state how often they ate certain foods, choosing from nine different categories that ranged from ‘never’ to ‘every day’. The researchers then used a scoring system to evaluate the extent to which each person’s diet could be considered Mediterranean.
Even after accounting for other influential factors, such whether a person was overweight, they found that participants who ate a more Mediterranean-style diet had a significantly reduced probability of knee osteoarthritis.
Posted on Thursday 10 November 2016