The Mediterranean and Paleo Diets may rank among the healthiest options around. Greens and animal proteins feature in both diets, withe protein predominating in the Paleo plan. But there are substantial distinctions to be made among animal proteins (meat, poultry, and fish).

Fish looks like the ideal protein source, thanks to its omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D, and the evidence linking fishy diets to heart, joint, immune, and brain health.

(We should note that saturated fat and cholesterol from meat and poultry doesn’t harm most people’s hearth health. The only apparent exceptions are people whose genetic profiles can render them problematic.)

Recent evidence suggests that greens and fish may work cooperatively to enhance and protect human health … for example, see “Cod and Kale: A Heavenly Marriage?”.

Now, two studies suggest that diets rich in fish and cruciferous vegetables may help keep arthritis at bay.

Studies see joint benefits from fish and cruciferous greens
Separate studies conducted in the U.S. and the United Kingdom (UK) provide more evidence of complementary health benefits from diets featuring greens and fish.

In both cases, the evidence involves these disparate foods’ effects on osteoarthritis … the very common joint disorder described in our sidebar, “What is osteoarthritis?”.

Study #1 – Omega-3s may help allay arthritis
The results of a new rodent study from Duke University suggests that omega-3 fatty acids from seafood or supplements may slow the progression of osteoarthritis (Wu CL et al. 2014).

While scientists know that obesity is a key risk factor for osteoarthritis, it’s not been clear how the two were related.

They’ve presumed that the heavier a person is, the more likely they are to wear out their joints.

But this couldn’t explain OA in the hands, which don’t bear weight … a mystery that led to the Duke study.

The Duke researchers studied mice who had osteoarthritis in the knee, and gave them one of three diets:
• Rich in saturated fat
• Rich in omega-6 fatty acids
• Rich in omega-6 fatty acids, with a small dose of omega-3 fatty acids

Study #2 – Broccoli and its cruciferous cousins vs. OA
Last year, research led by the UK’s University of East Anglia suggested that a compound found in broccoli could be key to preventing or slowing the progress of osteoarthritis (Davidson RK et al. 2013).

The researchers set out to test the effects of a diet enriched with sulforaphane – the sulfur compound released when you eat cruciferous vegetables such as Brussels sprouts and cabbage, but particularly broccoli.

(Other cruciferous greens include cauliflower, cress, bok choy, kale, collard greens, kohlrabi, arugula, Napa/Chinese cabbage, turnip, wasabi, daikon, radish, and mustard greens)

Source: Craig Weatherby
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