According to an study cited by Dr. Oz, hip osteoarthritis and pain can be reduced by consuming more produce, specifically herbs from the allium family, notably onions, garlic, and leeks. It appears that a component in those foods, diallyl sulfide, inhibits enzymes that cause damage.

Eating celery (1 stalk = 6 calories) slows memory loss in people because of a compound called luteolin, which decreases inflammation in the memory center (the hippocampus).

For colon health, pomegranate juice is beneficial-it’s also great for the arteries.

I’ve been taking arginine (an amino acid) for blood pressure for several years-it breaks down into nitric oxide (NO) in the body, which is the most potent vasodilator known (nitroglycerin is NO). We now know that NO is a prime contributor to good health. An excellent article in Dr. Whitaker’s ¬†March 2011 issue, conveys the point. In it, Dr. Whitaker notes that NO dilates coronary arteries, bringing much-needed O2 to the heart muscle. NO also lowers blood pressure and improves erectile dysfunction. Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra all work on NO pathways to improve erections. NO is also prominent in the brain, where it’s involved in neurotransmission. It also protects against dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

In the GI tract, it relaxes smooth muscle cells and regulates intestinal peristalsis (the movement of foods down the colon), and assists in the secretion of mucus and gastric acid. NO is also involved in insulin signaling, bone remodeling, respiratory function, ATP (energy utilization), and mitochondrial biogenesis. With all of these benefits, I think it prudent to increase my NO levels.

Plant foods, particularly beets and leafy greens like kale, spinach, arugula, and Swiss chard are rich in dietary nitrates and nitrites-compounds that stimulate production of NO in the body. Tea, onions, grapes, and other foods abundant in flavonoids help preserve NO. High-fat, high carb diets tend to work against NO. You make the call.

Stay well, John R Blilie, M.S.