Saturday, 11 May 2013

Arthur investigates...Can eating your greens help arthritis?

'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!


  1. Somewhere I remember being told to use a bay leaf to reduce the small of cauli and broccoli and it seemed to work. I either oven roast mine or microwave it - and the smell is minimal! Also a plus because I like mine almost raw and OH (if he is going to eat it at all) will only consider it when almost dead so his gets an extra couple of microwave minutes :-) Even then, I'm likely to get given an extra portion - like tonight ;-)

    Is it possible to over eat on cauliflower :-)

  2. I'll have to try that trick with the bay leaf. Oven roast cauliflower is lovely, I don't like it any other way really. I saw a cake recipe with cauliflower in, I wonder if you OH would eat that?!

  3. He doesn't eat cake either - boring minimalist is perhaps the best way to describe his diet ;-)

    Once upon a time cooking was my hobby. Then he had cancer and the combo of chemo and radiotherapy destroyed any interest he had in food. And the kids who had eaten most things when we lived in southern Germany wouldn't eat anything I liked after we returned to the UK. Now they cook for their own families I hear a lot of very familiar whinges and the little s*%" eat all sorts of things! Grrrr!

  4. I wouldn't eat broccoli or cauliflower until a few years ago - I think my taste buds just changed! I've just put your lovely shortbread recipe on the tips page. Thanks again for it.



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