Arthritis-fighting foods: lentils and green tea

It's easy to make arthritis-friendly nutrients part of a sensible daily diet because there's such a variety of them, covering virtually every food group. Lentils and green tea are rich in nutrients that have been said to help arthritis.

Arthritis-fighting foods: lentils and green tea

Lentils

  • These dried legumes, with their rainbow of earthy hues, are prime sources of folate, with 250 grams (one cup) providing about 90 percent of your daily needs. But lentils also provide one of the richest plant-based sources of protein, contain large amounts of soluble dietary fibre and hold significant stores of vitamin B6. These and other nutrients make lentils protect the body against heart disease and cancer in addition to arthritis.
  •  Not many people know a lot of lentil recipes. The most common usage — soup — is probably the best place to start for those new to the food. You might be surprised at how easy and tasty lentil soups can be. Add cooked lentils to water or broth, chop in carrots, celery, onions and a lean meat, add some simple herbs and seasonings and you are well on your way to a great meal.
  • Though sometimes sold in bulk from bins, it's best to buy lentils in plastic bags, preferably with most beans shielded from light. Reason: Exposure to light and air degrades nutrients (especially vitamin B6) and open bins invite contamination by insects.
  • Even bagged products aren't pristine: Sort through lentils before you use them by spreading them on a baking sheet and picking out those that are shrivelled or off-colour, along with any small stones that may have gotten mixed in. After that, there's no need to soak, but you should swish beans in a water-filled bowl, discard any floaters and rinse under cold water in a strainer before cooking.
  • Thoroughly drain lentils before eating or adding to other dishes: Beans are famous for causing gas due to sugars they contain that the body can't digest, but these sugars are soluble in water and leach out when lentils are cooked.

Green tea

  • This mild, slightly astringent tea contains hundreds of powerful antioxidant chemicals called polyphenols and has been cited for helping prevent problems ranging from cancer to heart disease. But studies also suggest green tea may help prevent or ease symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. In one study of induced arthritis in mice, green tea cut the disease onset rate almost in half and follow-up studies by the same researchers show promise in humans.
  • Tea tastes best when water is at the boiling point, which allows tea to release its flavourful compounds quickly. Water that's cooler than that tends to release flavours more slowly, weakening the tea.
  • Let tea steep in hot water for about three minutes — and no longer than five. This brief steeping time allows tea to acquire a full-bodied flavour and release its nutrients, but withholds compounds that make tea taste bitter.
  • Tea purists favour the fresher flavour of loose tea, but some experts suggest that tea bags release more beneficial nutrients because smaller, ground-up particles expose more of the tea leaves' surface area to hot water.
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