Soothe Arthritis, Tastefully

By Lindsey Galloway

Richard Blau, MD, author of Too Young to Feel Old: The Arthritis Doctor’s 28-Day Formula for Pain-Free Living (DeCapo, 2007) shares his top picks for foods that ease joint pain—and explains why they work.

Pomegranates. The antioxidants in the ruby seeds of this exotic fruit neutralize the free radicals that can trigger inflammation and worsen joint pain. In one study, scientists applied pomegranate extract to human cartilage aggravated by osteoarthritis and found that the extract protected the tissue against the proinflammatory protein interleukin-1b.

Turmeric. Curcuminoids, the active ingredients in this Indian spice, turn off the inflammatory protein NF-kappaB in the joints. Animal studies have shown that turmeric has the ability to help prevent rheumatoid arthritis.

Garlic. Freshly crushed garlic releases the enzyme allicin (responsible for this herb’s characteristic odor), which works as an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agent in the body by inhibiting the formation of inflammatory prostaglandins (created by fatty acids). Quick tip: Let chopped garlic sit for 15 minutes before adding it to your dish so its active enzymes can reach their full strength.