Though living with arthritis is the pits, life can be better with a bowl of cherries. Specifically, tart cherries, which are different from sweet cherries and not usually eaten in their fresh state. They are popular in juices, smoothies, baking and recipe creation, including cherry pies, cherry desserts and other cherry-based concoctions. Several studies have linked the consumption of tart cherries to decreased inflammation and inflammatory-related conditions like arthritis. Continue reading Nutrients in Tart Cherries Can Help Fight Arthritis Pain
Fiber packs a big punch when it comes to your health. Research shows it helps lower cholesterol levels, control blood sugar levels and aid in weight loss, which can ease pressure on joints. Scientists also have discovered that nutrients in dietary fiber help promote beneficial gut bacteria, which may reduce inflammation. And new research found that eating a high-fiber diet is linked with a lower risk for knee osteoarthritis and pain.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends about 30 grams of dietary fiber a day for men and 25 grams for women – much more than the 18 and 15 grams, respectively, that Americans typically consume. The good news is that adding just one fruit, vegetable or whole grain to every meal or snack can help.
You probably already know that diet and arthritis symptoms are inextricably linked. Sugary, high-fat, processed foods may trigger an inflammatory response while those that are rich in anti-inflammatory compounds, such as fruits, vegetables and heart-healthy fats may help quiet symptoms.
“Each organ in the body is responsible for specific functions, but food, stress and everyday living can compromise their ability to do their jobs effectively,” explains Sonya Angelone, MS, RDN, CL, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The organs of people living with arthritis are vulnerable to suboptimal functioning, not only because of the disease itself, but also because of its treatments.
The good news: You can help support each organ system – and stave off other chronic diseases – by amping up your intake of certain foods.
Sticking to the perimeter of the store, where healthier whole foods are displayed, is your best bet when shopping for an anti-inflammatory diet. But it’s hard to avoid packaged foods altogether – especially when many labels promise everything from a slimmer figure to better health. Here are some common health claims you’ll see on labels, and the truth behind them. Continue reading Misleading Food Labels
You’re aiming to cook healthful, anti-inflammatory meals, but you’re in need of some wholesome side dishes. You want your plate full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats to pack a nutritious, anti-inflammatory, and arthritis-friendly punch.
You may be tempted to reach into the cabinet for a convenient box of seasoned pasta or even a rice mix to make your life easier, but Heather Bainbridge, a registered dietitian at the Comprehensive Weight Control Program at Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City, says it’s almost as quick – and a lot healthier – to make easy sides yourself.
A diet rich in fruits and vegetables will help you fight the pain and inflammation of arthritis. Fruit is low in fat, sodium and calories. It can help you maintain a healthy weight – thereby reducing the pressure on your joints — and it’s rich in nutrients that help fight inflammation. Plus, it tastes great.
Here are tips for finding the freshest fruit and storage tips to increase shelf life.
Continue reading Choosing the Freshest Fruit to Fight Inflammation
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.
Continue reading Summer Fruits and Veggies to Relieve Inflammation
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
While tasting extra-virgin olive oils in Sicily, Gary Beauchamp, PhD, director of the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, noticed a ticklish, peppery sensation in the back of his throat. It was nearly identical to the “sting” he’d felt when swallowing a liquid form of NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen and aspirin, during previous sensory studies. Beauchamp detected a connection between the olive oil and inflammation.
Further studies revealed that a compound in the oil, called oleocanthal, prevents the production of pro-inflammatory COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes – the same way ibuprofen works.
“By inhibiting these enzymes, inflammation and the increase in pain sensitivity associated with them is dampened,” says Paul Breslin, PhD, co-author of the 2011 study. Researchers found the intensity of the “throaty bite” in oil is directly related to the amount of oleocanthal it contains. “Virgin olive oils from Tuscany, or other regions that have the same variety of olives, have the highest oleocanthal levels,” says Breslin.
Continue reading Olive Oil Reduces Arthritis Inflammation