'Eat your greens' - a phrase that strikes fear into the hearts of most broccoli-hating children and brussel-sprout loathing adults. But, for those of us with arthritis, eating our greens really is important.
The cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli cabbage, pak choy and kale, all contain certain nutrients and phytochemicals that are important for a healthy body and joints.
That slightly whiffy smell that comes when you overcook cruciferous vegetables is from the sulphur compounds they contain. They might not smell good but these compounds have been shown to help reduce inflammation and activate cartilage protecting proteins in arthritis.
Many of these vegetables are also a good source of vitamin K. Several studies have suggested that vitamin K may help prevent or slow the deterioration of joints in osteoarthritis but there is little evidence to suggest it can help joint repair once the damage has occurred. There have been few studies about the role vitamin K might play in inflammatory arthritis however some laboratory experiments have suggested that it might help block the inflammatory process.
To help preserve the nutrients it is best to just cook these greens lightly - this also helps avoid any nasty smells. Try steaming or stir-frying them with a little garlic and olive oil. Throw some raw tenderstem broccoli and slice cabbage together with a ginger, sesame dressing and cashes for a delicious salad. Or, toss cauliflower florets with spices and oil and roast lightly for a completely different taste. So go on, 'eat your greens' and enjoy them!