Broccoli is one of the most anti-inflammatory foods on the planet. This Arthritis Healing Superfood relieves joint pain and encourages new cartilage growth. Sulforaphane, vitamin C, vitamin K, beta carotene, selenium, calcium and the pain-reliever salicylic acid top the list of its healing ingredients. All members of Broccoli’s cruciferous family of vegetables play a critical role in The Arthritis Healing Diet.
1. Broccoli eases inflammation with sulforaphane. The naturally-occurring sulfur compound called sulforaphane prevents joint pain in the same way COX-2 arthritis drugs do, but without the potentially dangerous side effects. Plus, the beneficial effects last longer. Johns Hopkins researchers studying COX-2 drugs found that compounds in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli can stop pain before it starts.
2. How broccoli relieves arthritis pain. Broccoli is loaded with salicylic acid (SA), the active pain-relieving ingredient in aspirin. SA reduces joint inflammation by inhibiting the production of prostaglandin hormones, which cause joint swelling and tenderness. A study published in the British medical journal Lancet noted that getting salicylic acid from food provides the same anti-inflammatory benefits as aspirin with absolutely none of the bleeding problems. They also found that vegetarians have higher levels of salicylic acid in their bloodstreams than non-vegetarians, sometimes equal to the amount in a daily aspirin. Broccoli, peppers and spinach are all top in SA and featured in The Arthritis Healing Diet.
3. Broccoli keeps cartilage healthy. One cup of broccoli is loaded with 123 mg of vitamin C (twice the minimum daily requirement), which creates and protects cartilage. Studies show that people who are low in vitamin C may be at increased risk for arthritis because it is a necessary nutrient for healthy collagen, a vital component of cartilage. Vitamin C is also effective in healing arthritis because, as an antioxidant, it is a front-line defense against free radical damage to joints. It also facilitates the absorption of bone-strengthening calcium.
4. Broccoli’s selenium fights arthritis. Researchers tracking more than 900 people found those with low selenium levels in their blood had a 200% risk of developing severe arthritis. Selenium strengthens cartilage because it fights free radicals. The selenium most usable by the body is called selenium methyl selenocysteine–and the food richest in this compound is broccoli followed by garlic.
5. Multiply Broccoli’s healing power. Cut Broccoli florets into small pieces and let them sit for 5 to 6 minutes before cooking. This enhances their healing properties because it breaks up the cells and activates beneficial enzymes. This effect is further enhanced by ascorbic acid (vitamin C), so sprinkle sliced broccoli with a little lemon juice for added healing benefit. Once broccoli is heated, however, the enzymes will become inactivate, so slicing broccoli first will enable the enzyme to convert some of the valuable sulfur compounds before cooking.
6. Why organic broccoli is more healing. Numerous studies reveal that conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables contain dramatically less vitamins and minerals than organically grown produce. By comparison, organic foods contain 27% more vitamin C, 29% more iron, and 14% more phosphorus, on average. Overall. organically-grown broccoli has higher levels of all its healing plant nutrients than conventionally-grown and is often available in the organic food section of your regular grocery store.
Roasted Broccoli with Dried Cherries and Walnuts
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- Ready Time:
- 1 bunch broccoli cut in half
Beta-carotene has been found to lower the risk of RA and other inflammatory conditions, and broccoli delivers a significant 1,359 mcg/cup. For a look at nutritional values of all the cruciferous veggies, go to http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/news/20070419/super-veggies-cruciferous-vegetables?page=2
- 1 tablespoon pure olive oil
Olive oil is an especially beneficial element of The Arthritis Healing Diet because it contains a compound called oleocanthal, which exerts strong anti-inflammatory effects in the body. Oleocanthal blocks the production of inflammatory COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes in the same way that anti-inflammatory drugs called NSAIDs do. Inhibiting these enzymes decreases inflammation and joint pain.
- pinch salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup dried cherries
Red and blue color pigments signal the fruits with the highest anthocyanin content–and therefore able to deliver a knockout punch to those devilish free radical molecules, which initiate and aggravate arthritis. A mere half-cup of berries has more antioxidant activity than five servings of broccoli, a powerful arthritis healer in its own right. Anthocyanins also support the production of healthy collagen, the infrastructure of all connective tissue, especially in your joints. Berries heal as well as curb pain.
- 1/2 cup walnuts crushed
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Peel the broccoli stem with a vegetable peeler and cut in half from the stem up to the florets.
Coat in olive oil and lay on a baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Bake for 10-15 minutes.
Add the berries and nuts and bake for 5-7 minutes more.
TIPS AND NOTES:
Add a splash of lemon for an extra burst of flavor.
The broccoli in this dish should be charred on the tips but still crunchy in the center. Keep a close eye on it after you add the fruit and nuts because they can burn quickly.