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Category Archives: Battle Arthritis Pain

The Countdown Continues: The Top 5 Strategies for Healthy Eating

Next on our countdown of the top 5 eating habits of 2016 is eating more vegetables. I am pretty sure that you are tired of hearing that message BUT most of us still need to work on this habit.

In the recently published 2015-2010 Dietary Guidelines For Healthy Americans nutrients that most Americans are not getting enough of are fibre and potassium. And guess what foods can play a huge role in increasing the intake of both potassium and fibre? You guessed it! Vegetables!

While it is nice to know that veggies will bring some key nutrients to the diet, but can eating veggies help to reduce inflammation? Veggies are inflammation reducing powerhouses! In fact when we look at the dietary patterns that are most associated with lower rates of diseases that are thought to be caused by inflammation, they are filled with an abundance of vegetables.

Why are veggies such inflammation busting foods? They do add lots of fibre and consuming adequate amounts of fibre is linked to lower levels of inflammation. Vitamin C, which is a potent anti inflammatory nutrient, is found in abundance in Red and Yellow peppers. Smaller amounts are found in dark green leafy vegetables, even a potato cooked in the skin. Vegetables also contain a variety of plant chemicals that can contribute to good health.

Veggies are almost all low in calories and carbohydrates, with only a few exceptions. That is one of the reasons that we focus so much on increasing vegetable consumption! Vegetables contain less calories and carbohydrates, which helps us to stay at or close to a healthy weight, which helps to keep inflammation at bay.

What is the right amount of vegetables to eat? Eating well with Canada’s Food Guide, suggests that women aged between 19 and 50 eat 6-8 portions of vegetables and fruit daily. This should be about 3 portions of fruits and the rest vegetables. And easier guide is the MyPlate guide from the United States that suggests that half your plate should be made up of vegetables. In an ideal world the vegetables would be of many colours and some would be cooked and other would be raw. After all some nutrients are better absorbed from cooked vegetables and others give more bang for the quantity when we eat raw vegetables. Vegetable juice should be reserved for occasions where there it is the best option for including vegetables in a meal.

So let’s set some goals for adding more vegetables to your diet. Maybe you want to purchase some frozen vegetables to have on hand for those days you do not want to peel and chop. Maybe you want to look up some interesting vegetable recipes because you realize that your family is not crazy about eating plain nude (steamed) vegetables, so you want to try something different. The Curried Root Vegetable Masala is now a favourite in our family. Extras heat up nicely the next day for lunch too.

What goals will you set?

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The Top 5 strategies for Healthy Eating: 5 easy steps to a more anti-inflammatory diet!

The New Year brings New Year’s Resolutions.  Many of the resolutions that I hear about, and sometimes make myself, are vague and unmeasurable.  You know what I mean.  Resolutions like “I want to eat a healthy diet” or “I want to be healthier” or even “ I want to get fit”.

Goal setting experts tell us that it is important to set specific measurable goals if we want to succeed.  So for each week in the month of January we will cover the top 5 nutrition goals that you can integrate into your diet to make it more anti-inflammatory, and then look as some of the measurable strategies that you can use to implement these changes and track your progress.

Start by adding spice to your life!  It is true that herbs and spices contain nutrients that can help the body to better cope with different stresses.  For example Turmeric is known to help reduce inflammation as is black pepper.   Ginger is used to prevent nausea.  Almost every other herb or spice contains some type of plant chemicals that will help the body in some way or another.

So how can we start to add spice to our menus?  Well let’s look at the small steps that need to be taken to achieve this goal

  • Pantry Inventory: make sure you actually own some herbs and spices and make sure that they pass the smell test. If they have no aroma then they are too old and need to be discarded.
  • Look at old favourite recipes to see if they contain any herbs or spices.
  • Look for new recipes or recipe ideas that contain herbs or spices.  For instance lots of recipes for apple crisp or apple pie mix apples with cinnamon.  So how about a sprinkle of cinnamon on your apple the next time you eat an apple.  Or maybe sprinkle some cinnamon or ginger in your tea.  Maybe it is time to make that curry recipe that your mom used to make but you stopped making because you thought that grilling was healthier….
  • Now pick a simple goal!  Here are some examples:
    • I will purchase cinnamon this week
    • I will make Seasoned Chickpeas and Almonds ( From the Complete Arthritis Health Diet Guide and Cookbook) to add to my salad at lunch.

 

Doesn’t that sound easy?

 

Stay tuned, next week I will look at 2 other goals.

 

 

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World Autoimmune Arthritis Day

Today is THE day.  Go to the World Autoimmune Arthritis Day website and sign up to race around the world (virtually) and earn points for arthritis research charities.

Why would you want to do this?   Autoimmune arthritis is one of the leading causes of disability in Canada.  More than half of all people suffering from arthritis are under the age of 65.

In Autoimmune Arthritis, not only are the joints affected, but all systems in the body can be affected.  Some of the diseases that are included in this group include rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, Ankylosing Spondylitis, Still’s Disease, Sjorgen’s Syndrome, Lupus, and Juvenile Arthritis.

More recent research is suggesting that a healthy diet, based on the Mediterranean diet may help to reduce symptoms of pain and stiffness.  This diet also helps to prevent heart disease and type 2 diabetes; diseases which often seem occur more often in people who have arthritis.

So go to the Website and participate in the virtual race.

www.worldautoimmunearthritisday.org

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