Monday, 24 June 2013

Arthritis Friendly Recipe: Anti-Inflammatory Lollies and RA Awareness Week

It's the first ever Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness Week here in the UK, organised by the lovely people at NRAS. Do go on their site and find out more about it and get involved. We're very lucky in the UK to have such proactive and motivated arthritis charities who do so much to help people understand arthritis. On a day-to-day basis raising awareness avoids having to answer stupid questions like 'oh aren't you a bit young for that?' or 'sorry, how do you spell that?' and in the longer term it helps improve funding, research and care for all types of arthritis.

Tub-thumping over, I've got a very easy health and anti-inflammatory lolly (popsicle) recipe for you today. I've been waiting for summer to arrive to start posting all my seasonal arthritis-friendly recipes but frankly I'm bored of waiting. If these lollies don't bring the sun out then nothing will!If you can use fresh pineapple, either pre-prepared or hacked-up yourself, then please do as it is much richer in the anti-inflammatory enzymes and anti-oxidants then the canned type. However, don't beat yourself up if you want to use canned, just pick the kind in juice not syrup.


400g pineapple
150ml apple juice (I prefer the cloudy kind)
2 inch piece of fresh root ginger, peeled

Put all the ingredients in a blender and blitz until smooth. Pour into lolly moulds and freeze for at least 6 hours. 

Arthritis diet notes:
Ginger contains chemicals called gingerols which some studies suggest have powerful anti-inflammatory effects. Some studies have suggested it can reduce pain in osteoarthritis patients and lab studies have suggested it may help RA but more research is needed. However, it certainly won't do you any harm and give it's potential benefits it's an easy and delicious spice to add to your diet.

Pineapple is rich in the enzyme bromelain. Again, this compound has shown to have an anti-inflammatory effect in the lab and in some subjects with OA but evidence on the required amount and mechanism of action is sketchy. Pineapple is rich in vitamin C which several studies have suggested people with arthritis consume less of than health subjects so eating it may help you boost your levels.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Arthritis and Dietary Supplements Survey

Something a bit different on the blog today...a study about arthritis and dietary supplements.

As some of you know, when I'm not cooking, I'm currently doing a study into whether people with arthritis are more likely to use dietary supplements and what they take. There have been very few studies in this area but supplements targeted a joints are worth more in sales in the UK than any other kind (around £243million).

I'd massively appreciate it if readers could take part. It's entirely anonymous and the findings will be shared with everyone once they have been analysed. Even better, it only takes about 5-10 minutes to do.

Thanks and it will be back to cooking as usual very shortly!

Monday, 10 June 2013

Arthritis Friendly Recipe: Vegeree

Having just spouted forth about both the benefits of greens and having less meat in your diet for arthritis, it felt like a good time to post my vegeree recipe. If you aren't from the UK, you may never have come across kedgeree, which is curried rice, egg and smoked fish brunch dish. It sounds utterly bonkers but the flavour combinations work really well. The chef, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, does a great vegan version in his 'River Cottage Veg' book, which we always enjoy but I wanted to try adding kale and some smoked tofu to liven it up a little. Stir-frying kale or greens on a high heat seems to cure them of their sulphury whiff and transform them. The 'minerally' taste of them is also strong enough to stand up against the smoked fish or tofu and the curried spices.

This is not a dish to be making if you arthritis is affecting your hands or arms a lot. I wouldn't attempt this on a bad day as there is quite a bit of chopping and stirring which can be difficult even with a food processor. Having said that, it's very quick to put together as well as being fantastically healthy so, if can give it a go, I promise you will enjoy it!

250g packet of cooked pilau rice (or 250g cooked left over rice with a tsp turmeric stirred in)
200g kale or other greens, coarsely chopped
1 large courgette, grated
1/2 onion, finely sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed
200g smoked tofu or 1 fillet of cooked smoked haddock or smoked salmon trimmings
1 tablespoon of rapeseed or sunflower oil
1 tablespoon mild curry powder
2 tsp turmeric

Serves 3-4 as a light meal

Heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok. Add in the onion and stir-fry over a low heat until softened. Crush the garlic into the pan and throw in the kale. Continue to cook for 3-5 minutes or until the kale as wilted.

Add the courgette, rice, tofu (or fish) and curry powder to the pan and give everything a good mix. Stir-fry for another 3-5 minutes until everything is piping hot.

Serve with lime wedges and minted yoghurt (raita or tzatziki are very nice).

Arthritis diet notes
This is a superb anti-inflammatory, arthritis diet friendly dish. The kale, onion and garlic all  contain powerful inflammation fighting sulphur compounds. Kale is also a rich source of the bone strengthening vitamin K.  Turmeric contains the phytochemical curcumin which lab studies have shown reduced inflammation and is a traditional aryuvedic remedy for arthritis. Finally, if you eat this with the smoked salmon you will get a healthy boost of joint-friendly omega 3 fatty acids or the tofu will supply phytoestrogens which may help prevent osteoporosis


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