Live Free, Move Free

This Independence Day weekend, take advantage of God's natural summer bounty to naturally protect your joints and your freedom of movement.

According to a study in Arthritis Research & Therapy, middle-aged adults with higher dietary intake of fruit and certain antioxidants were less likely to develop the bone and cartilage abnormalities seen in osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease, is the most common form of arthritis.

Researchers found that people getting the most fruit and the highest vitamin C intake had only half the risk of developing bone changes, compared to those getting the least amount. In addition, the increased intake of the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin was associated with a 29% reduction in the risk of cartilage defects.

Foods high in vitamin C include citrus fruits, oranges, cantaloupe, strawberries, blueberries, tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage, kiwi fruit, sweet red peppers. Lutein and zeaxanthin are pigments found in dark green leafy vegetables, corn, orange peppers, grapes, tangerines and kiwi.

Researchers are not exactly sure exactly what accounts for the results, but antioxidants do reduce inflammation, which can contribute to osteoarthritis. And in addition to being an antioxidant, vitamin C is essential in the cross-linkage of collagen fibers, a process that gives bones and other tissues strength and resilience.

God has provided us with an abundance of antioxidant rich foods. Here are some of the best overall sources:

Berries (Cherry, blackberry, strawberry, raspberry, crowberry, blueberry, bilberry/wild blueberry, black currant), pomegranate, grape, orange, plum, pineapple, kiwi fruit, grapefruit.
Kale, chili pepper, red cabbage, peppers, parsley, artichoke, Brussels sprouts, spinach, lemon, ginger, red beets.
Dry Fruits
Apricots, prunes, dates.
Broad beans, pinto beans, soybeans.
Nuts and seeds
Pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, ground nut, sunflower seeds.
Barley, millet, oats, corn.
cloves, cinnamon, oregano

Many of these foods are in season now, and are available fresh and at their peak in local markets. Incorporate a variety into your July 4 picnic and barbeque plans and enjoy their many benefits!

Other specialized herbs and extract with antioxidant properties such as sour cherry fruit, turmeric root and holy basil leaf have been shown to reduce the inflammation and pain associated with osteoarthritis. Joint Support combines these antioxidants with the compounds glucosamine, and chondroitin, which protect and regenerate joint tissue, for a comprehensive approach to joint health.