If so, avoid nightshade foods.
Monday, July 9, 2012
Do You Have Achy Joints?
These include tobacco, eggplant, bell peppers, tomatoes, and white potatoes. Nightshade (family: Solanaceae) foods have been linked to an increase in arthritis symptoms. In one study, 70% of those with arthritis reported relief from chronic pain over a period of seven years after eliminating all nightshade foods. Between 20% and 30% of my patients on this regimen experience moderate to dramatic pain relief. They typically report less pain overall but especially in their hands, feet, knees, and ankles.
Blueberries. Blackberries. Raspberries. Strawberries. Recent studies have confirmed the antioxidant effects of berries on various health conditions.
Cardiovascular health. Eating berries can improve platelet function, blood pressure, and high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or "good") cholesterol levels, according to a Finnish study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Researchers recruited 72 middle-aged subjects who had an elevated risk of heart disease because of high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, or other factors. Half of the subjects were randomly assigned to eat two servings a day of a combination of whole berries, purées, and juices that included strawberries and raspberries as well as several kinds of European berries that share nutritional qualities with American berries: bilberries (sometimes called European blueberries), lingonberries (similar to small cranberries), black currants, and chokeberries. The other group consumed control products: sugar water, porridge, and marmalade.
After eight weeks, researchers found that among the berry eaters, beneficial HDL cholesterol increased by 5%, blood platelet function was inhibited by 11% (reducing the risk of blood clots), and systolic blood pressure (the top number in a blood pressure measurement) went down an average of 1.5 mm Hg, while the controls experienced little change in these measures -- suggesting that berry consumption can have a positive effect on cardiovascular risk factors. The researchers hypothesized that the polyphenol content of the berries was responsible for these benefits.
Cancer risk. Preliminary studies also demonstrate that the phytochemicals in berries may prevent precancerous gastrointestinal conditions from progressing to cancer. Research at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center has found that consuming black raspberries (darker versions of the more typical, red raspberries) may protect against esophageal cancer in people with the precursor condition, Barrett's esophagus. Research is currently under way to determine whether black raspberries can also prevent colon polyps from developing into colon cancer.
Black raspberries have high concentrations of anthocyanins and other antioxidants that are believed to have cancer-fighting properties. However, the effects of anthocyanins are limited to the gastrointestinal tract, which comes into direct contact with these substances; anthocyanins are not well absorbed into the bloodstream, so they are not considered effective for cancers that are unrelated to the digestive system.