Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Arthritis Friendly Recipe: Pasta with Tenderstem Broccoli

Broccoli and oily fish are both great additions to your diet if you have arthritis and, handily enough, they go very well together - especially in this classic Italian pasta dish. It's a great quick and easy dish to make: I managed it with one sore arm and between dealing with my daughter's hiccups and stopping the cat from redecorating the kitchen with muddy paw prints.

Traditionally, this dish is made with orrechiette (little ears) but I prefer wholemeal pasta. It's earthy taste really complements the taste of the sauce and, as a bonus, it is higher in fibre. I haven't tried it with spelt pasta but for those of you who are adventurous, I imagine it would go really well. If you don't like anchovies, then replace them with almonds or pine nuts which are both high in healthy fats and inflammation fighting vitamin E. 

150g (5oz)  wholemeal pasta
250g (1/2 lb) tenderstem broccoli
1 clove crushed garlic (you can use paste or granules if easier)Dried chilli flakes to taste1 small tin of anchovy fillets, drained OR 25g sliced almonds or pinenuts1 tablespoon olive oil

Serves 2

Put the pasta on to cook in a large saucepan. Cook according to timings on packet.

Add the broccoli for the last 3-5 minutes of cooking time, depending on how al dente you like it.
Drain in a large colander.

Return the saucepan to a medium heat and pour in the tablespoon of olive oil, garlic, chilli flakes and anchovies (or nuts). Heat for a minute or until the garlic softens, then add the pasta and broccoli. Give everything a good stir to ensure it is evenly coated. Season with freshly ground black pepper.

Arthritis diet notes:
Broccoli (like other cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, kale and cauliflower) is rich in sulphur compounds that can help reduce arthritis joint inflammation. It's also a good source of vitamin K which studies suggest may help slow or prevent joint deterioration in osteoarthritis. 

Anchovies supply omega 3 fish oils. These fatty acids have been shown to reduce pain and inflammation in both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. If you really can't stand anchovies, pine nuts or almonds are a good alternative as they are rich in the antioxidant vitamin E which studies show people with arthritis tend to consume less of than their more happily jointed peers.


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