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Tips for easing those aches and pains

As my bones remind me of my increasing years, I look for tips on ways to feel better.

During a recent visit to my healthcare provider I received some good advice, for me at least. Avoid eating nightshades for a month she said, see if that helps your arthritis. What? Avoid eating nightshades for an entire month? Some of my favorite foods are nightshades!

The nightshade family is made up of potatoes, tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers, eggplant, tomatillos, tamarios, pepinos, pimentos, paprika and cayenne peppers.

Oh, the torture of giving them up.

But, it worked.

Do I avoid them altogether? No, but I limit myself and try not to have back-to-back days when I eat nightshades, limiting them to about once a week.

Working at The Den with the fabulous salad bar under my nose makes it challenging to avoid these little culprits and, then, throw a baked potato on the menu and I’m not such a good girl. However, for the most part, it does help me to avoid nightshades.

That being said, here is a bit of information from AARP on “7 Ways to Prevent Arthritis.”

Here’s what recent research suggests you should do.

Enjoy a cocktail. Women who consumed more than three alcoholic drinks a week over a 10-year period reduced their risk of rheumatoid arthritis by about half, according to a study in the British Medical Journal. It doesn’t matter what you drink: beer, wine and liquor yielded the same results.

Put a cherry (or 10) on top. Eating cherries, which contain powerful antioxidants with pain-fighting properties called anthocyanins, can lower gout attack risk. Study participants who ate 10 to 12 cherries over a two-day period had a 35-percent lower risk of flare-ups.

Skip sodas. Sugary soft drinks contribute to weight gain and the progression of knee osteoarthritis, especially in men who drink more than five sodas a week, according to a study at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Tufts Medical Center.

Pass on prime rib. Eating foods high in purines — a compound found in protein-rich foods such as red meat, oily fish and even certain vegetables (spinach, mushrooms, beans) — can make gout flareups almost five times more likely than if you eat low-purine foods.

Get moving. Maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly can help prevent some types of arthritis and lessen arthritis pain. Exercise strengthens muscles and joints, maintains flexibility and decreases fall risk.

Go alternative. Acupuncture, Tai Chi and yoga have been shown to be effective treatments for pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, according to a study at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. Be sure to talk to your doctor before beginning complementary or alternative medicine treatment.

Get curry. Curcumin, which gives the spice turmeric its trademark bright yellow coloring, has anti-inflammatory properties that may help ease arthritis pain, a study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry found.

Thank you to Jean Smith, one of five of my awesome SHIP-Medicare Counselors, for providing the Medicare fraud and abuse information and general Medicare information at the 9Health Fair.

Your chauffeur 

At your service. Get out in the community and let us do the driving. Get to where you need to go. Door-to-door bus service is available Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday for seniors age 60-plus. Suggested donation is $2 per day. Call for details, 264-2167.

Special delivery 

Are you struggling to get meals prepared because you are homebound, recovering from surgery or an illness? If so, let us do the cooking.

Enjoy Cafe Fox meals delivered to your door. Our hot meal, home delivery program is available four days a week to those living closer to town, with frozen meals for Thursdays and weekends. Those living farther out of town may be eligible for the frozen meal program. Meals are available to people age 60-plus for a suggested donation of $3 per meal. Give us a call at 264-2167 for more information. Donations

Weekly activities at The Den

Friday, April 19 — 10 a.m. Stitchin in the kitchen; 10:30a.m. brain injury support group; 12:30 gym walk.

Monday, April 20 — 12:30 p.m. gym walk.

Tuesday, April 21 — 11 a.m. Alzheimer’s support group; 12:30 p.m. gym walk; 1 p.m. Meditation for Healing.

Wednesday, April 22 —11 a.m. blood pressure checks.

Thursday, April 23 — Closed, administrative day.

Friday, April 24 — 10 a.m. Stitchin in the kitchen; 10:30 a.m. book club; 12:30 p.m. gym walk.

Cafe Fox menu

All meals include our great salad bar.

Friday, April 19 — Smothered chicken with gravy, cornbread stuffing, plums, peas, whole wheat roll, coleslaw.

Monday, April 22 — Sloppy joe on whole wheat bun, mixed veggies, Mandarin spinach salad, butterscotch pudding.

Tuesday, April 23 — Baked pork chop, roasted sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, applesauce, whole wheat roll, yogurt/berry parfait.

Wednesday, April 24 — Oven fried chicken parmesan, whole wheat spaghetti, salad, whole wheat roll, tropical fruit.

Thursday, April 25 — Closed, administrative day.

Friday, April 26 — Birthday meal: roast turkey, cornbread stuffing, mashed potatoes with gravy, green beans, whole wheat roll, cranberry sauce, tossed salad with sunflower seeds, magic cookie bar.

Reservations are required by 9 a.m. the morning of the day you would like to dine at Cafe Fox. You can make your reservation up to one week in advance, through our website at www.archuletacounty.org, by calling 264-2167, at select departments and the Senior Center.

Suggested donation for older adults age 60 plus is $4, guests $6. Our meal program is partially funded through the Older Americans Act via the San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging, United Way, Archuleta County, Town of Pagosa Springs and other individual donations and grants. These funds help support the cost of the meal which is approximately $12.85. Please note our menu is subject to change. The salad bar opens at 11:30 a.m. with lunch served from noon to 12:30 p.m.

This story was posted on April 18, 2013.