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Eating for Yoga

By: Jennifer Grossman
Posted: June 13, 2008, from the September 2006 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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Cherries. These juicy fruits are a top source of anthocyanins that may help to reduce inflammation and possibly lower blood levels of uric acid, which can accumulate in joints and cause pain associated with a form of arthritis called gout.

Pineapple. This fruit is the only natural source of bromelain—a proteolytic enzyme that functions as a “cleanup crew,” digesting dead protein cells in case of injury and microtears that are part of the muscle-building process. Research suggests that bromelain found in pineapple can help reduce inflammation and relieve muscle soreness. Scientists at the Dole Nutrition Institute found that fresh or frozen pineapple contains as much, if not more, bromelain activity than supplements do. Pineapples also provide an excellent source of vitamin C, which helps promote collagen formation and improve iron absorption, as well as manganese, which supports metabolism and bone density.

Spring back from sprains

Sprains occur when the ligaments are overstretched or slightly torn. Pain, swelling and loss of function are symptoms caused by the injury and require time to heal, depending upon the severity of the sprain.

Black cod. Move over salmon—black cod has even higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which may help to reduce inflammation. Flounder, halibut and sardines also contain this healthy fat, as do flaxseed oil, walnuts, tofu and leafy green vegetables.

Red bell pepper. Just one contains more than 470% of your daily vitamin C needs, compared to yellow, which contains 450%, and green, with 190%. Vitamin C can help to speed recovery from minor sprains by spurring collagen synthesis. According to a Boston University study, people who consumed less than 150 mg daily of vitamin C had faster cartilage breakdown. Other top sources include citrus fruit, pineapple, kiwi, cantaloupe, papaya, strawberries, tomatoes, kale, collard greens and sweet potatoes.

Build a better backbone