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       Volume I - August 8, 2008

6 Foods thatBow To
by Alice Osborne

For healthy and more youthful knee joints (or anything that bends), consider six foods as your best long-term insurance: berries, ginger, avocado, flaxseeds, omega-3-rich fish, and soy. Research shows they can stifle joint-damaging inflammation, according to John La Puma, MD, author of Chef MD: The Big Book of Culinary Medicine.

For starters, try this joint-friendly daily meal plan: whole-grain cereal or oatmeal with berries for breakfast, a turkey and avocado sandwich or a soy burger for lunch, a handful of walnuts or flaxseeds for a snack, and wild salmon or tilapia for dinner.

Some other diet do’s - and don’ts - from La Puma:

Make a fruit bowl . . . with orange and grapefruit chunks. Vitamin C can thwart cartilage loss and slow osteoarthritis progression.

Sip green tea. It’s chock-full of anti-inflammatory compounds. Potent compounds in green tea -- EGCG and ECG -- help battle cartilage and collagen destruction in arthritic joints. The EGCG and ECG found in green tea are powerful flavonoids known as catechins. These particular catechins fight inflammation, as well as underlying mechanisms at work in both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Of course, drinking a few cupfuls of green tea each day is no guarantee against knee pain, so here are a few of the more tried-and-true methods for keeping knees healthy:

Lose weight if needed. Excess pounds raise risks of knee arthritis.

Strengthen your quads. Weak quadriceps muscles are associated with knee arthritis, so work them out regularly, along with your hamstrings and all of your other leg muscles.

Feel something crunching and creaking in your knees? Early intervention can slow arthritis progression. And “play it safe.” A knee injury will triple your risk of knee osteoarthritis. When you exercise, take proper precautions to avoid getting hurt.

Nix or at least cut back on red meat, and skip the sugary and starchy stuff. Proinflammatory substances in these foods -- like saturated fats in red meat -- could spur joint pain or make it worse.

When limiting red meat, make a balanced eating plan to help ensure you don't shortchange on important nutrients such as protein, vitamins B12 and D, calcium, iron, and zinc.

To get enough of these important nutrients, try tofu or soy burgers; legumes, such as lentils or garbanzo beans; low-fat dairy; dark green, leafy vegetables; nuts; and whole grains supply many of these nutrients. Also, poultry and fish are leaner sources of protein that provide many of the same nutrients found in red meat.

Here’s a recipe that’s a delicious and nutritious alternative to red meat:

Savory Mushroom Stroganoff

8 ounces portobello mushrooms, sliced
8 ounces whole-wheat noodles, cooked
1 1/2 cups reduced-sodium broth, chicken or vegetable
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups fat-free sour cream
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mix sour cream and flour together in small bowl until smooth. Set aside. In large skillet, sauté onion in olive oil over low heat until soft. Turn heat up to medium-high and add mushrooms. Sauté until mushrooms brown. Transfer mushroom mixture to large bowl. Turn heat up to high and add broth to the skillet. Bring to a boil and reduce liquid by 30%. Set heat to low and add mushrooms and onions. Add sour cream and flour mixture to skillet, stirring well. Add parsley. Season with salt, pepper to taste. Serve over noodles.

  Download this recipe.

Information courtesy of the Real Age Website.

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