Superfoods for Conquering the Pain of Arthritis

With some thought and planning, it’s easy to make these nutrient-dense foods part of your daily diet. With choices from virtually every food group, you’ll soon be well on your way to arming yourself to battle the pain of arthritis and begin to manage it from the inside out.

Salmon is among the richest sources of healthy fats, making it an ideal source of omega-3 fatty acids. In addition, salmon contains calcium, vitamin D, and folate. Besides helping with arthritis, eating salmon may protect the cardiovascular system by preventing blood clots, repairing artery damage, raising levels of good cholesterol, and lowering blood pressure.

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Commonly referred to as one of nature’s ‘perfect foods,’ bananas are perhaps best known for packing potassium, but they’re also good sources of arthritis-fighting vitamin B6, folate, and vitamin C. They’re easy for your body to digest, and since they’re a great source of soluble fiber, they are an important player in your weight loss efforts, because you fell full after eating one without consuming a large number of calories.

If you are in need of vitamin C but aren’t a big fan of citrus fruits, reach for a green pepper. A single green pepper contains 176 percent of your daily needs for vitamin C — and colorful red and yellow varieties have more than double that amount. That makes them richer in C than citrus fruits, but sweet peppers are also excellent sources of vitamin B6 and folate.

Vitamin D is a tough one to come by in foods, but shrimp fills that bill, since they have about 30 percent of the daily recommended amount in about three ounces – much more than a cup of milk. Shrimp also contains omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin C, along with other nutrients essential for general health, including iron and vitamin B12.

Hard or soft, fresh or ripened, cheese in all its variety is an excellent source of calcium for bones, and protein for muscles and other joint-supporting tissues. Cheese can be easily sliced to put on a cracker or a sandwich, grated into your favorite recipe, or eaten alongside an apple or pear for a fresh, quick snack.

Green tea contains hundreds of powerful antioxidant chemicals called polyphenols and has been cited for helping prevent problems ranging from cancer to heart disease. But studies also suggest green tea may help prevent or ease symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

 

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Superfoods for your Brain

We’ve all had days when we didn’t feel like we were ‘on our game.’ And as we age, both our bodies and our brain grow old as well. By making smart food choices though, we can preserve our precious gray matter longer and improve brain function. Here are some brainy choices for keeping our noggins in tip-top shape.

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Blueberries have been shown to shield the brain from stress, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. Research has also shown that diets rich in blueberries significantly improved both the learning capacity and motor skills.

Avocados, though considered a ‘fatty fruit,’ contribute to healthy blood flow and decreased blood pressure, lessening the chances of developing hypertension, which can lead to a stroke.

Deep-water fish, such as salmon is a wise, freshwater fish choice. It’s abundant in omega-3 essential fatty acids, which are essential for healthy brain function.

Nuts and seeds are good sources of vitamin E, an important vitamin needed by your brain to stave off declining cognitive functions. Cashews, peanuts, walnuts, sunflower and sesame seeds and almonds are all great choices.

Whole-grain breads, brown rice, and oatmeal also contribute to a healthy brain by reducing the risk for cardiac disease. By promoting a healthy heart and improved blood flow, the brain is sure to thrive via excellent oxygen and nutrient delivery through the bloodstream. Complex carbohydrates also supply the brain with a steady stream of glucose that enhances brain function. It’s important to avoid simple carbohydrates often found in junk food because the glucose gives the brain a short-lived sugar high, often followed by a crash that makes you feel hungry and tired.

Freshly brewed tea also has potent antioxidants, especially the class known as catechines, which also promotes healthy blood flow. Since black teas do contain caffeine it’s important to use it sensibly.

Dark chocolate has powerful antioxidant properties, contains several natural stimulants, which enhance focus and concentration, and encourages the production of endorphin, which helps improve mood. Again, moderation is the key.

 

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