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Apr 25, 2012

adapted from an article by Stacey Colino in iVillage

There’s no proven anti-arthritis diet, but certain foods may make a difference in your symptoms
The Mediterranean diet is strongly anti-inflammatory. ...with less red meat but more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fish and olive oil than the standard American diet. People who follow the Mediterranean diet may have fewer arthritis pain symptoms. But plenty of other tasty foods contain anti-inflammatory nutrients... You won’t be able to ditch your pain-relieving meds, but eating more anti-inflammatory, arthritis-fighting foods may help you feel and function better if you have arthritis.

Coldwater fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, halibut, herring and anchovies are high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids (specifically, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)), which also combat inflammation. Research from Cardiff University in the UK suggests that the omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish may ease osteoarthritis symptoms by reducing mRNA levels, the messengers involved in the synthesis of various proteins that contribute to osteoarthritis (OA). Keep in mind: Baking, broiling or grilling fish is healthier than frying it. If you’re a vegetarian or don’t like fish, look for omega-3-enriched eggs.

Salsa-Roasted Salmon
1 medium plum tomato, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 small onion, roughly chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 clove garlic, peeled and quartered
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
2-3 dashes hot sauce
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
8 ounces center-cut salmon fillet, skinned and cut into 2 portions
Yield: 2 Servings
1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Place tomato, onion, garlic, jalapeño, vinegar, chili powder, cumin, salt and hot sauce to taste in a food processor; process until finely chopped and uniform. 3.Place salmon in a medium roasting pan; spoon the salsa on top. Roast until the salmon is just cooked through, 12 to 15 minutes.
To Make Ahead: The salsa (Step 2) will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 day.
Other fatty fish can stand in for the salmon -- adjust the roasting time accordingly.

Walnuts, flaxseed and chia seeds are good sources of alpha linolenic acid (ALA), another type of omega-3 acid that comes from plants ...these nuts and seeds are another good way to sneak anti-inflammatory foods into your diet. Toss a handful of chopped walnuts or a sprinkling of ground flaxseeds or chia seeds into your oatmeal or over your salad. ...go easy on the portions, because walnuts are high in calories.

Vitamin D is reduces inflammation and inhibits the enzymes that break down cartilage, thereby slowing the progression of arthritis, explains Jason Theodosakis, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor of family and community medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine and author of The Arthritis Cure. Fatty fish and egg yolks, as well as fortified milk, cereals and orange juice, all contain vitamin D; supplements are also a good source.

Tart cherries (and tart cherry juice) contain anthocyanins and anthocyanidins, health-promoting plant pigments (aka phytochemicals) that have strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties ...consuming tart cherries daily for 90 days reduces both systemic and local inflammation, according to research from the University of Michigan. Top your whole-grain cereal with tart cherries or add them to a spinach salad

The catechins (a type of phytochemical) in green, white, black and oolong teas have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, though green tea contains the most. It’s the epigallocatechin-3-gallate, or EGCG, in green tea that’s especially good at inhibiting a key gene involved in the inflammatory response... For optimal anti-inflammatory benefits, steep the tea bag for three to five minutes in boiling water before sipping the soothing brew.

A staple of the Mediterranean diet, olive oil has long been known for its heart-healthy benefits. Now it has another claim to fame: an anti-inflammatory effect, thanks to its high concentration of plant-based compounds called polyphenols ...regularly consuming olive oil can reduce blood levels of inflammatory cytokines and inhibit tissue damage in the joints, even in those with arthritis. Make an effort to use olive oil when you’re preparing salad dressing or sauteing veggies -- for the sake of your joints and your heart.

Lemon Slices in Spicy Olive Oil
North Africans preserve whole lemons in a brine made with lemon juice and plenty of coarse sea salt. They eat the skin and white pith of the preserved lemons, which acquire a distinctive flavour and aroma. Chop and add to potato salads, steamed cauliflower, carrots, broccoli, or bitter greens; also to grilled chicken or fish, and to stuffings for pork and poultry, and wherever 'preserved lemons' are called for. Besides the slices, use a few drops of the strongly flavoured olive oil, to which you may add a few chillies, to enliven dressings and marinades.
3 or 4 lemons, preferably organic
2 to 3 dried peperoncini (or any other chile), cut in half lengthwise with scissors but still attached to the stem
4 to 6 tablespoons sea salt
About 1 cup olive oil
Yield: 2 cups Servings
1. Wash and dry the lemons thoroughly.
2. Cut them into 1/8 inch-thick slices and lay one layer in a stainless-steel colander.
3. Sprinkle the lemon slices with plenty of salt and repeat, making more layers until you have used all the lemons and salt.
4. Set aside to drain for 24 hours.
5. Press the lemon slices carefully with paper towels to extract most of the juice, then pack the slices in a 1pint jar, adding the peperoncini between the slices.
6. Completely cover the lemon slices with olive oil.
7. Close the jar. The lemon slices will keep in the refrigerator for 3 to 6 months.

Turmeric, an ancient spice used in ayurvedic medicine for its anti-inflammatory effects. In addition, ginger and cinnamon contain compounds with powerful anti-inflammatory effects. They block the production of cytokines and prostaglandins, which shuts off inflammation... In a study in Thailand, people with osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee who consumed two grams of curcumin extract (the active compound in turmeric) daily for six weeks experienced reductions in pain and functionality while walking on level ground and up or down stairs comparable to those who took 800 milligrams of ibuprofen daily. Meanwhile, a University of Miami study found that people with OA of the knee who consumed ginger extract twice a day experienced greater reductions in knee pain while standing and walking than those in the control group.

Potato and Pea Curry
1 in (2.5 cm) piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped
1½ lb (675 g) all-purpose waxy potatoes, peeled and cubed
2-3 fresh hot green chile peppers, seeded and finely chopped
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin seeds
1¼ cups hot vegetable stock
1 tsp mustard seeds
½ cup frozen peas
small handful of dried curry leaves (optional)
handful of fresh cilantro, chopped 6 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Yield: 4 Servings
1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the ginger, chiles, cumin seeds, and mustard seeds, and crumble in the curry leaves. Cook for a couple of minutes until the mustard seeds start to pop. Stir in the tomatoes, and cook for a few more minutes.
2. Add the potatoes and turmeric, and pour in the stock. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat slightly, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
3. Stir in the peas, and cook for another 3-5 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper, and stir in the cilantro. Serve hot with rice or naan bread.
Notes: This is a fairly dry curry; if you want more liquid, simply add more stock

ONIONS, of any colour
The quercetin [a flavonoid] in onions has similar anti-inflammatory effects to ibuprofen or aspirin and it has antioxidant properties. Besides decreasing inflammation and perhaps reducing the pain that comes with it, the compounds in these fragrant bulbs also may protect cells from inflammation-induced damage. Keep onions on hand for stir-fries, soups, stews and omelets, and as a savoury caramelized topping for fish, meat or poultry dishes

Herb & Onion Frittata
1 cup diced onion
2 teaspoons chopped fresh herbs, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon water, divided
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup liquid egg substitute
2 tablespoons farmer’s cheese, or reduced-fat ricotta
Yield: 1 Serving
1. Bring onion and 1/4 cup water to a boil in a small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cover and cook until the onion is slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking until the water has evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes. Drizzle in oil and stir until coated. Continue cooking, stirring often, until the onion is beginning to brown, 1 to 2 minutes more.
2. Pour in egg substitute, reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking, stirring constantly with a heatproof rubber spatula, until the egg is starting to set, about 20 seconds. Continue cooking, lifting the edges so the uncooked egg will flow underneath, until mostly set, about 30 seconds more.
3. Reduce heat to low. Sprinkle herbs, salt and pepper over the frittata. Spoon cheese on top. Lift up an edge of the frittata and drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon water under it. Cover and cook until the egg is completely set and the cheese is hot, about 2 minutes. Slide the frittata out of the pan using the spatula and serve.

Soy foods like edamame are featured prominently in the Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid created by Andrew Weil, M.D., founder and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona in Tucson and author of Healthy Aging. The reason: They contain isoflavones, a class of phytochemicals that have antioxidant activity and anti-inflammatory properties. In a study involving 135 people with OA or chronic knee pain, researchers found that those who consumed 40 grams of soy protein daily for three months experienced greater improvements in range of motion and various measures of pain compared to those who consumed 40 grams of milk-based protein per day. Consider this another good reason to consume one to two servings a day of cooked edamame, tofu or tempeh, soymilk or soynuts.

Edamame Hummus
1/2 cup cooked edamame
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup cooked dried or canned chick peas, rinsed and drained
1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup low-fat, low-sugar cereal (such as Puffins)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water
Yield: 2 Servings
1. Place all ingredients in a blender; process until smooth, scraping down sides with a spatula as necessary.
2. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator.

The darker the grape, the more anti-inflammatory, antioxidant phytochemicals (plant-based compounds) like resveratrol it has ...resveratrol suppresses inflammatory signaling in cells called articular chondrocytes, which may help with the treatment of OA and related arthritic conditions. Make your next snack red or purple grapes, or propose a toast to your health with a glass of red wine or grape juice in the evening. Salut!

Grilled Curry Chicken with Watercress, Grapes, Peaches, and Orange-red Wine Vinaigrette
2 boneless, skinless split chicken breasts (cutlets), about 8 oz(225 g) each
2 ripe but firm peaches, pitted and sliced into 8 sections
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon good-quality curry powder
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 bunches watercress, trimmed, washed, and dried well
2 Tbsp. chopped parsley 20 green grapes, stemmed, halved, and deseeded
Yield: 4 Servings
1. Make the dressing: On the stove top, bring the orange juice to a boil in a small pan over high heat, then lower the heat slightly and simmer until reduced in volume to 1/4 cup (about 20 minutes). Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Add the oil, wine vinegar, parsley, salt, and pepper, whisk together, and set aside.
2. Build a fire in your grill. When the coals are all ignited, the flames have died down, and the temperature is medium, you’re ready to cook.
3. Coat the chicken breasts with oil, rub them all over with the curry powder, and sprinkle them generously with salt and pepper. Place them on the grill directly over the coals and cook until they are browned on the outside and just cooked through (6–8 minutes per side). To check for doneness, poke the chicken with your finger to test its firmness; if you’re unsure, make a cut in the thickest part of one of the breasts and check to be sure that it is opaque all the way through. When the breasts are done, transfer them to a plate and cover them loosely with foil to keep warm.
4. While the chicken is cooking, combine the watercress, grapes, and peaches in a large bowl. Stir the dressing again, add to the watercress-fruit mixture, and toss well to coat. Divide the salad among four plates.
5. Slice the chicken on the bias into strips, arrange the strips on top of each salad, and serve.|04-25-2012|#417465

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Posted: Apr 25, 2012 7:30am
Aug 20, 2010

FIBROMYALGIA and HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup)
Janice Lorigan wrote "High Fructose Corn Syrup and the Fibromyalgia Connection" - a book that's fairly easy to read;. Not too many big words I made some notes as I was reading which I'll share with you here.


  • Consume food or drink products that contain HFCS, corn syrup*, crystalline fructose, or corn syrup solids.
  • Inhale wet fingernail polish fumes.
  • Inhale pesticides, insecticides, fumigants, or malathion.
  • Drink liquids which contain more than 5% pesticides.
  • Eat rice**

*Old-fashioned corn syrup does not disturb metabolic processes for most people. However, many manufacturers are still using the terms high fructose corn syrup and corn syrup interchangeably.
**Rice- Unfortunately, rice absorbs arsenic from the soil. (Soil of many agricultural areas of US and o' countries has elevated levels of arsenic. Even organic rice may contain an excessive amount of arsenic if grown where cotton grew previously.)

  • Read ingredients levels on food and beverage containers.
  • Be cautious when eating out.
  • Stock your pantry with organic biscuits and cereals.
  • Stock your fridge with fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly.
  • When possible, drink filtered water.
  • Choose organic milk, juice, and wine.
  • Eat a balanced diet (without HFCS!)

METABOLISM - Non-fibromyalgic consumers seem to metabolize HFCS with no noticeable unpleasant effects. BUT fibromyalgics experience negative effects after eating or drinking HFCS. However, the effects aren't immediate so it makes it difficult to make the connection between the pain and the HFCS.
THE TROJAN HORSE: the journey of the HFCS into the body is like the Trojan Horse fable. HFCS tastes like food and digests like food in the stomach. But as metabolism begins the body discovers the deception. Part of the HFCS is toxic to fibromyalgics, i.e. the chemically manipulated fructose that used to be glucose.
The manipulated fructose part of HFCS confuses the metabolic processes and exhausts the intestines and liver because this fructose is unstable. ORGANS and NEUROTRANSMITTERS are affected.
SEROTONIN and DOPAMINE are neurotransmitters that contribute to feelings of contentment and well-being. During pain the dopamine levels in fibromyalgics are significantly lower than dop' levels in non-fibromyalgics.
Serotonin - 95% of serotonin is produced in the intestines. In fibromyalgics the low levels of serotonin contribute to depression and catastrophic or negative thinking. As long as the intestines are overtaxed with the abnormal glucose/fructose metabolism problem, serotonin production may be v low.
ENZYMES - influence the speed of metabolism and play powerful roles in the metabolic process. One of the important roles of the enzyme is to remove toxins from the body.... but a high level of toxins suppresses the production of enzymes, so the intestines are burdened.
There is a connection between fibromyalgia and fascia.
WHAT IS FASCIA? - a stretchy web existing all over the body, lying just below the skin. Fascia surrounds everything: organs, brain, toes, fingers, limbs, neck, muscles. It helps to hold the body together. It supports and separates organs and muscles.
Impaired fascia of the fibromyalgic becomes tighter and more immobile, especially in the neck, upper back, shoulders, lower back.
At times the fascia of fibromyalgics contains and restrains the muscle, ligaments, tendons too tightly. Manipulation of the fascia with massage, acupuncture or acupressure can provide some comfort.
HOW DOES THE FASCIA BECOME IMPAIRED? Janice Lorigan's theory is that the strange enzymes from HFCS aren't wanted by the body so it attempts to excrete them via the skin pores. While passing through the fascia on the way to the skin, an adverse chemical reaction results, stiffening the fascia until the HFCS enzymes are expelled from the fascia. During that process the fibromyalgic feels pain and achiness and requires additional sleep time to recover.
WHY MORE SLEEP? because the intestines, liver, endocrine system, and cells have to work v hard to rid the body of the HFCS chemicals, thus causing FATIGUE.
THALAMUS -part of the Central Nervous System -an area of the brain -made up of neurons - plays a part in PAIN PROCESSING.

Apr 5, 2010
Hurt feelings 'worse than pain' (link) 
The old adage "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt", simply is not true, according to researchers. Psychologists found memories of painful emotional experiences linger far longer than those involving physical pain. They quizzed volunteers about painful events over the previous five years. Writing in the journal Psychological Science, they said evolutionary brain changes which allow us to work better in groups or societies could be key.
The cerebral cortex may also have had an unintended effect of allowing humans to relive, re-experience and suffer from social pain. - Zhansheng Chen, Indiana
The volunteers, all students, were asked to write about painful experiences, both physical and emotional, then given a difficult mental test shortly afterwards. The principle was that the more painful the recalled experience, the less well the person would perform in the tests. Test scores were consistently higher in those recalling physical rather than "social" pain. Psychological scoring tests revealed that memories of emotional pain were far more vivid.
   SOCIAL EVOLUTION - Researcher Zhansheng Chen, from Purdue University in Indiana, said that it was much harder to "re-live" physical pain than to recall social pain. He said the evolution of a part of the brain called the cerebral cortex, which processes complex thinking, perception and language, might be responsible. 
   It certainly improved the ability of human beings to create and adapt, to function in and with groups, communities and cultures, and to respond to pain associated with social interactions. However, the cerebral cortex may also have had an unintended effect of allowing humans to relive, re-experience and suffer from social pain.
      - Zhansheng Chen, Indiana
The researchers now plan to repeat the experiment in older people, who are more likely to have experienced chronic pain.
Michael Hughesman, a child psychologist based in Germany, agreed that it was likely that emotional pain was handled in a different part of the brain from physical pain, and likely to be longer-lasting.
   There is something very intangible about emotional damage - with physical pain, you can see the bruise, but in emotional abuse there is often fear and anxiety which remains. If someone tells you in the playground that they are going to get you after school, then you tend to be anxious and afraid about it far more than if someone just punches you there and then. 
      - Michael Hughesman, Germany 
Thanks to my friend, Cissy, who posted this news in C2NN a year ago...that's how I came across it. From BBC NEWS | Health | Hurt feelings 'worse than pain'
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Posted: Apr 5, 2010 4:30am
Mar 24, 2010

That old bugbear, fibromyalgia

Lately I dropped in to Textbook of Pain to see what it had to say about fibromyalgia, or as it is commonly referred to, FM. I found out quite a lot I never knew before, actually.
I already knew that people who are diagnosed with FM hurt - the main complaint is body pain. Careful differential diagnosis comes first; serious major depressions, panic and anxiety disorders are ruled out.
Next, apparently there is more than one kind of FM, primary and secondary. They look and act a lot alike so clinical reasoning is key: Existence of a prior condition means the FM must be treated as secondary:
   1. Rheumatoid arthritis - 30%
       of patients will also likely have FM
   2. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus - 40%
   3. Sjögren's Syndrome - 50%

What "secondary" means, is that patients will have two kinds of pain at once, and treatment of the primary condition must be managed in a way that won't aggravate the pain from the secondary FM. Furthermore, one kind of pain might be well-managed and the other not. For example, "increasing the dosage of antirheumatic medications in the absence of active inflammation may have little effect on the pain amplified by FMS." There are issues with steroid treatment - e.g., patients withdrawing from steroid treatment for their RA might find the FM pain increasing temporarily with each decrease in glucocorticoid dosage. This is a surprise in that primary FM has not been helped with glucocorticoid.
Various infectious and inflammatory conditions such as Hep C, TB, syphilis, and Lyme disease, are associated with FM. FM, and aches and pains from subacute bacterial endocarditis could be confused with it.

Primary FM is referred to these days as a "disorder of abnormal sensory processing of sensory information within the CNS, exhibiting a limited array of recognized objective physiological and biological abnormalities."
1. Mountz et al 1995: CT scans showed abnormally low regional cerebral blood flow in thalamic nuclei and other pain processing brain structures, correlated with spinal fluid substance P levels.
2. Gracely et al. 2002: fMRI evidence for augmented pain processing in brain
3. abnormal spinal cord "wind-up"
4. In over 60% of cases, there exists a temporal relationship to a physical trauma or febrile illness and FM onset.
5. Evidence relating FM to actual muscle abnormality or pathology is weak, scant, inconclusive, or completely missing, in both invasive and non-invasive testing compared to healthy controls. At a neurochemical level, findings support the concept of objective pain amplification. Various pro-nociceptive substances, and a few anti-nociceptive substances, have been examined. One of the pro-nociceptive substances is  substance P  (P for pain):
1. Russell 1998: Elevated levels of Substance P found in cerebral spinal fluid of patients diagnosed with FM
2. Vaeroy et al 1988, Russell 1998, Mountz et al 1995: average concentrations of  substance P  in CSF found to be 2 to 3-fold higher in FM than in healthy controls. Substance P levels in saliva, serum or urine were not elevated.
3. Cerebral spinal fluid contains an esterase for breaking down Substance P - this substance was normal, not deficient, so the elevated levels of substance P must be because the body makes more than the esterase can take care of.
4. substance P  is elevated in other conditions such as rheumatic diseases with or without FM (Russell, unpublished).
5. In painful OA of the hip, levels of Substance P returned to normal after hip replacement.
6. Tsigos et al 1993, Sjostrom 1988: In chronic low back pain, and diabetic neuropathy, cerebral spinal fluid Substance P levels are lower than normal. (So go figure...)
Another substance is  nerve growth factor, elevated in CSF of those who have primary but not secondary FM (Giovengo et al 1999). It may even be NGF that is responsible for elevated levels of Substance P, whereas in secondary FM, the primary condition (arthritis etc.) itself may be responsible. Cytokines called interleukins were found to be elevated, specifically IL-8 and IL-6. IL-8 is stimulated by Substance P. G-protein-coupled receptors were found to not be able to inhibit intracellular cyclic AMP production by adenylate cyclase - more cyclic AMP was found floating around. This is being considered as a cause of the allodynia characteristic of FM. Apparently there is no opioid deficiency; levels of Dynorphin A are found to be normal. Serotonin levels, however, are lower.
Numbers of active FM tender points correlated nicely with concentrations of serotonin in body serum (Wolfe et al 1997b). Noradrenaline levels might be low; concentration of methoxyhydroxyphenylglycol, the inactive metabolite of noradrenaline, was found to be significantly lower than normal in FMS cerebrospinal fluid (Russell et al 1992).
Up to 35% of patients with FM, when tested using hypoglycemic hyperinsulinaemic clamp procedures, show inadequate responsiveness, or excessive response to feedback inhibition, of the hypothalamic-pituitary portion of the HPA axis (Adler et al 1999). This shows exaggerated adrenocorticotropic hormone response to insulin-induced hypoglycemia or stressful exercise and indicates poor tolerance for physiological stress.
Women are more commonly affected than men, and FM onset is often perimenopausal. About 30% of female FM patients are prematurely menopausal due to surgical removal of female reproductive organs. Forty-four % of female FM patients have premenstrual syndrome and pain which cycles in phase with their menstrual cycle (Anderberg et al 1998). It is thought that these differences are less a feature of estrogen and more to do with serotonin (Nishizawa et al 1997).
Sleep is a problem in FM.
Deep stage IV non-REM sleep is when human growth hormone is released. It stimulates the liver to produce a long half-life peptide called insulin-like growth factor-1, found to be deficient in FM (Bennett et al 1997). It has been hard to develop a treatment based on administering this, even though it helps; growth hormone therapy is expensive at $1000/month. Iyengar et al 2005: in a study of 80 multi-case families, 8 genetic markers were detected. Posted by Diane Jacobs

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Posted: Mar 24, 2010 4:13pm


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