Onions aren’t just flavoring to your favorite dishes. They are low in calories, have virtually no fat and are loaded with healthful components that fight inflammation in arthritis and related conditions.
Onions are also one of the richest sources of flavonoids – antioxidants that mop up free radicals in your body’s cells before they have a chance to cause harm. One flavonoid found in onions, called quercetin, has been shown to inhibit inflammation-causing leukotrienes, prostaglandins and histamines in osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), reduce heart disease risk by lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol and help prevent the progression of cancer.
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Step aside, salmon. Scoot over kale. Make room for flaxseed, a rightful member of the healthiest foods club. It has even been shown to ease arthritis, especially in rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and Raynaud’s phenomenon.
“Although flaxseed has been used for a long time – Hippocrates ate and wrote about it in 500 B.C. – it’s only been in the past 10 years that researchers have focused on flaxseed’s health benefits,” says Jocelyn Mathern, a registered dietitian and member of the Flax Lignan Information Bureau Advisory Board, a consumer education organization in Minneapolis.
Continue reading Anti-Inflammatory Benefits of Flaxseed
Summer warmth can bring relief to achy joints, and so might summer fruits and vegetables. Indulge in the flavors of the season with these fresh picks, all packed with healthful, inflammation-fighting nutrients.
Strawberries contain anthocyanins, which help keep inflammation at bay, says registered dietitian Desiree Nielsen. Plus, strawberries are rich in vitamin C, which has been linked with building collagen and connective tissue.
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You may know that berries are full of health benefits. Sure, they are loaded with fiber, which helps you feel full (and eat less). But did you know berries are good for easing your arthritis symptoms, too? Berries top the charts in antioxidant power, protecting your body against inflammation and free radicals, molecules that can damage cells and organs. Studies in aging animals even show that mixed berries improve cognition and motor performance.
James Joseph, PhD, director of the Neuroscience Lab at the United States Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston, which conducted the studies, notes that people become more susceptible to the damaging effects of free radicals and inflammation as they age. Berries help prevent those effects by turning off the inflammation signals triggered by cytokines and COX-2s, he says, making them an ideal part of your diet.
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For many years, people have claimed that certain foods in their diet reduced pain and joint inflammation from arthritis. Researchers continue to investigate whether foods and spices actually may play a role in relieving joint pain and, if so, how they work.
“Mostly it’s just healthy eating, with a lot of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds,” says registered dietitian Ruth Frechman, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Continue reading 6 Food Choices to Help Ease Arthritis Pain
Wouldn’t it be great if you could just snap your fingers and know you’d never gain weight as you grow older? Unfortunately, it’s not going to happen. Exercise, cutting calories and smart eating are mandatory if you want to sail through your later years without putting on extra pounds.
The good news is, unless you are obese or have health issues, you don’t necessarily have to embark on special diets to keep extra weight at bay. All you have to do is choose your foods wisely. Ideally, you should make smart eating decisions before you put anything in your mouth.
Follow these recommendations from Larry Tucker, PhD, an obesity researcher and professor in the department of exercise sciences at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. They will help you avoid the numerous temptations we all face every day, from the birthday cake at the office party to Sunday brunch with the in-laws.
Continue reading 11 Smart Eating Tips for Arthritis
Whoever first said “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” was onto something. Research suggests that eating some apple on a daily basis might lower levels of cholesterol as well as C-reactive protein (CRP), a key marker of inflammation in the blood.
In a 2012 study of 160 women ages 45 to 65, half of the participants ate three-quarters of a cup of dried apples every day for a year, and the other half ate a cup of prunes – each 240 calories. Within six months, the apple eaters’ LDL (bad) cholesterol decreased 23 percent, their HDL (good) cholesterol increased 4 percent and their CRP fell 32 percent.
“Lower CRP is better for people with many inflammatory-related diseases, such as [rheumatoid arthritis] and atherosclerosis,” says study author Bahram H. Arjmandi, PhD, chair of Florida State University’s department of nutrition, food and exercise science in Tallahassee.
Continue reading Research Shows Apples Can Cut Cholesterol and Inflammation
Do you keep ginger in your spice cabinet? Maybe it should be in your medicine cabinet. Besides being a tasty spice often used to enhance holiday treats, ginger can soothe upset stomachs and diminish nausea, and studies show it may help pain and inflammation, too.
In fact, a University of Miami study concluded that ginger extract could one day be a substitute to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). The study compared the effects of a highly concentrated ginger extract to placebo in 247 patients with osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee. The ginger reduced pain and stiffness in knee joints by 40 percent over the placebo.
“Research shows that ginger affects certain inflammatory processes at a cellular level,” says the study’s lead author, Roy Altman, MD, now at the University of California, Los Angeles.
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Generations of people have reported that cherries help keep painful osteoarthritis (OA) and gout flares in check. Now, scientists are putting this popular folk remedy to the test, with promising results.
Researchers have tested different amounts of several varieties of cherries in almost every form, from juice to pills. And though most studies are small and the findings preliminary, evidence of the benefits of cherries is growing.
In a study of 633 participants, Boston University Medical Center researchers found that eating at least 10 cherries a day protected people with existing gout from recurrent attacks. The findings were published in 2012, in a supplement to the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism.
“Cherry intake was associated with a 50 percent lower risk of gout flares over a 48-hour period,” says study co-author Hyon K. Choi, MD. “We extrapolate that cherries will continue to work long-term.”
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You’ve heard about the great foods you can add to your arthritis diet. But what if you’re on a budget? Here are some smart food swaps that are easy on your wallet.
Tea. Home-brewed tea is a good source of catechins, a type of antioxidant that benefits the heart by helping blood vessels relax. That’s especially helpful for people with rheumatoid arthritis, who are at increased risk of heart disease. Bottled teas don’t have catechins, which degrade in a few days. Drink home-brewed instead.
Savings: About 50 cents per 8-ounce serving.
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