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Do aches and pains have you out of joint? Concerns culminating in
the withdrawal of several selective Cox-2 inhibitors, like Vioxx,
have many arthritis sufferers turning to the supplement aisle in
search of relief.
Could diet and exercise provide more reliable solutions? Here's a
roundup of recent research into those foods that help support
Pineapple: Bromelain is an enzyme that can help ease joint pain
and relieve muscle soreness. Scientists at the Dole Nutrition
Institute found that fresh or frozen pineapple has as much, if
not more, bromelain activity than supplements. Pineapples also
provide an excellent source of vitamin C, which helps promote
collagen formation and improve iron absorption, and manganese,
which supports metabolism and bone density.
Cherries: a top source of anthocyanins that reduce inflammation
and may protect against gout (an inflammatory form of arthritis).
One study found that cherry consumption lowered blood levels of
uric acid, which can accumulate in joints, causing pain.
Broccoli: Cruciferous veggies such as broccoli contain sulphoraphane,
which triggers the body's own antioxidant defenses. New research
suggests this process may help block effects of Cox-2 enzymes on
inflammation. Broccoli sprouts are one of the most potent sources
of these compounds, which you'll also find in cabbage, cauliflower
and brussels sprouts.
Red bell peppers: Just one contains more than 470 percent of your
daily vitamin C needs (yellow peppers contain 450 percent and green
peppers contain 190 percent). According to a Boston University
study, people getting under 150 milligrams daily of vitamin C had
faster cartilage breakdown. Other top sources of vitamin C are
citrus fruit, pineapple, kiwi, cantaloupe, papaya, strawberries,
tomatoes, kale, collard greens and sweet potatoes.
Black cod: Move over, salmon! Black cod has even higher levels of
omega-3 fatty acids, which may help rheumatoid arthritis by reducing
inflammation. Flounder, halibut and sardines also contain this
healthy fat, as do flaxseed oil, pecans, walnuts, tofu and leafy
Button mushrooms: an unexpected source of vitamin D, adequate
levels of which decrease vulnerability to arthritis pain. Sunshine
enables your body to produce vitamin D; other sources include
oysters, sardines and fortified non-fat dairy.
Kale: one of the healthier sources of calcium, which helps hold
the line against osteoarthritis by slowing bone loss. Be
adventurous - try collard greens, arugula, soy and beans in
addition to some of the better-known calcium sources.
Tea: Green and black tea contain flavonoids, antioxidant compounds
that may block the production of prostaglandins, which cause
inflammation and pain.
While the foods cited above have compounds with targeted joint
health benefits, Harvard research found a more general link between
high fruit and vegetable consumption and lower risk of rheumatoid
What to limit? Red meat. British researchers found that too much
red meat increased the risk of rheumatoid arthritis. Those who
ate the most red meat were twice as likely to develop the condition
than those who limited their intake to less than 1 ounce per day.
Eating less meat and more fruit and vegetables also helps maintain
a healthy weight - an important facet of managing joint pain. If
you're among the majority of Americans who are either obese or
overweight, slimming down can significantly slow progression of
joint degeneration and ease pain. In fact, you can reduce knee
stress by 40 to 80 pounds with a mere 10-pound weight loss.
If you have the desire and willingness to earn more income each
month and have the ability to follow some simple instructions,
you too can become one of the thousands of people who are
achieving financial freedom every day.