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February 25, 1999     Pahrump Mirror
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February 25, 1999
 

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Food, Health and Fitness Pahrump Valley Gazette, Thursday, February 25, 1999 13 Living with Arthritis Part 1 of 3 Aching, throbbing, sharp, nagging. Whatever term you use to describe it, arthritis hurts. Often it's enough to make simple daily activities--opening a pill bottle, getting out of a chair or even walking--difficult. Unfortunately, arthritis is almost inevitable. If you're 40, you might be surprised by the wear and tear you already have in your joints. If you're 60, you probably have at least a touch of arthritis. And if you're 80, well, you're likely all too familiar with what arthritis feels like. There's still no cure for arthritis, but treatments to- day are far ahead of what was available just five or ten years ago. Advances range from safer and more effective pain treatments to replacement of whole joints. And promising research offers hope of even better treatments to come. In addition, recent research reveals another poten!, i arthritis treatment-you. How well you live with ar- thritis often depends on your actions and attitude. If you actively manage your arthritis, you may be able to gain control over your pain. Arthritis is a disease that causes joint inflamma- tion. Some lorms can also affect surrounding muscles, tendons and ligaments, or, more rarely, your skin or internal organs. Causes of the various types of arthritis are not al- ways clear. Genetic factors probably play a role in the development of rheumatoid arthritis. Other pos- sible causes of arthritis being studied include envi- ronmental factors, certain foods, infectious organisms (such as viruses, bacteria and fungi) and an imbal- ance of certain enzymes. Nearly 43 million Americans have arthritis. That's about one in seven Americans. Almost everyone develops osteoarthritis as they age. About half of people with arthritis have this form. Some people have symptoms in their 50s, while oth- ers are spared until their 80s. About five percent of people with arthritis have rheumatoid arthritis, a more severe form of arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis usually begins between ages 20 and 50, although it can begin at any age. It affects women more often than men. There is no cure for arthritis, but there are things you can do to help symptoms. The first step is to find out what type of arthritis you have. This is important because early diagnosis and treatment may help you avoid persistent pain and may prevent permanent joint damage. In addition, a few less common types of ar- thritis, such as joint infections and gout, may require immediate treatment. To diagnose your problem, your doctor may use a physical examination, blood tests and certain imag- ing techniques. Blood tests are used to diagnose or rule out specific types of arthritis. Fluid may also be withdrawn from the joint for analysis. Imaging tech- niques used may include X-rays, arthrography (an image taken after dye has been injected into your joint), bone scans, computerized tomography (CT scan) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Once you know what kind of arthritis you have, you can work out ways to live with it successfully. Here are some general guidelines for managing arthritis: Keep a positive attitude-Make a plan of manag- ing your arthritis. This will help you feel that you're in charge of your disease, rather than vice versa. Stud- ies show that people who take control of their treat- ment and actively manage their arthritis experience less pain and have less difficulty functioning. Control your weight-Excess weight puts added stress on joints in your back, hips, knees and feet-all places where arthritis pain is commonly felt. Excess weight can also make joint surgery more difficult and risky. Exercise regularly-Inactivity can result in weight gain, which causes further pain and inactivity. This cycle can be hard to break. Exercise can also increase strength and stability in weakened muscles and joints. Know your limits-Rest when you're tired. Arthri- tis can make youprone to fatigue and muscle weak- ness-a deep exhaustion that makes everything you do a great effort. A rest or short nap that doesn't in- terfere with nighttime sleep may help. So can mak- ing your work areas easier to use. Article courtesy of the Mayo Clinic Health Letter, February 1999. See next weeks Gazette for part two of Living with Arthritis. March is National Nutrition Month The American Dietetic association wants to remind us dur- ing National Nutrition Month, the month of March, that great taste and food nutrition can go hand-in-hand within a healthy lifestyle. Nutrition fads may come and go, but eating fresh fruits and vegetables will always be fashionably healthy. And for good reason-they're naturally low in calories and fat and packed with valuable vitamins and minerals. Sweet-tasting, juicy fresh tomatoes not only provide such good-for-you nutrients as vitamin C, folic acid, potassium and beta-caro- tene, they may also reduce your chance of developing sev- eral kinds of cancer. Nowhere can you find more of the powerful antioxidant lycopene than in a tomato. In fact, lycopene is what makes tomatoes red. Studies show that even more lycopene becomes available when tomatoes are heated; cooked up in pasta sauces, soups, pizzas and other tasty dishes. And when a small amount ofoil or butter is used in the cooking or served with the meal, it enhances lycopene absorption. Fresh Vegetable Pita Pizza is ideal for giving kids-and ev- eryone else at your table-a satisfying, great-tasting meal along with a good dose of lycopene. The quick-baked pizza is topped with cheese bubbling over a variety of colorful vegetables, all scattered over a bed of bright red tomato slices. Remember that tomatoes should always be stored until ripe at room temperature to best preserve their valuable nu- trients-refrigerating them puts a halt to the ripening pro- cess. Only after they're fully ripened should they be refrig- erated. But before you serve refrigerated tomatoes, be sure to return them to room temperature for best flavor. ,cJti,, Fresh vegetable pita pizza Fresh vegetable pita pizza 1 pound fresh tomatoes 4 (7-inch) pita breads 1 tablespoon olive oil 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese 1-1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, divided 2 cups shredded part-skin mozzarella cheese, divided 1 medium zucchini cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced 1/2 large green bell pepper, thinly sliced (1 cup) Preheat oven to 425F. Use tomatoes held at room tem- perature until fully ripe. Core and slice tomatoes; cut each slice in half. Place pitas on two baking sheets; brush with oil. Arrange tomato slices on each pita, dividing evenly. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and half of the Italian sea- soning. Bake until tomatoes are heated and pitas begin to crisp, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle tomatoes with half of the mozzarella cheese. Top with zucchini, green pepper and onion. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Ital- ian seasoning. Bake until cheese is melted and vegetables are crisp-tender, about 10 minutes. Serve with crushed red pepper, and additional Parmesan cheese, if desired. Greek salad pizza 2 large fresh tomatoes 4 (7-inch) pita breads 3 tablespoons Italian salad dressing, divided 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed, divided 3 cups chopped iceberg lettuce 1 cup diced peeled cucumber 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese, plain or flavored with to- mato and basil 1/3 cup halved pitted ripe olives 2 tablespoons green onion (scallion) Core and slice tomatoes, cutting each slice in half. Heat oven to 425F. Place pitas on two baking sheets. Arrange tomatoes on each pita, dividing evenly. Lightly sprinkle tomatoes with one tablespoon of the dressing and 1/4 teaspoon of the oregano. Bake until tomatoes are heated and pitas begin to crisp, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine lettuce, cucum- ber, feta, olives and green onion. Add remaining two tablespoons dressing and 1/4 teaspoon oregano; toss to mix. Spoon evenly over hot tomatoes. Aloe Vera Aloe Vera is native to Africa and is often called African Lily. Here in the southwest it is often used as both an in- door and outdoor plant. It is easily propagated by simply pulling off the new plants that will sprout from the main growth and transplanting to a mixture of half potting soil and half sand. Since the plant is a succulent it freezes easily, so either bring the pots indoors during the winter or cover se- curely if planted in the gar- den. If your plant does freeze,  keep watering the roots-it "N will continue to grow even if "N'_N, all the top growth is destroyed. N''Nx- Aloe has a reputation as a topical Nx,, remedy that is well deserved. The list of x'x ailments cured by the application of aloe vera juice is extensive: Burns, skin inflammations, in- sect bites, poison ivy and oak, diaper rash, heat rash, sun- burn, acne and just about anything else you can name. Drinking the juice, mixed in water, acts as a powerful purgative and de-toxin. It is an effective cleanser for the digestive system as well as the liver, kidneys and spleen. Be careful when taken internally-too strong a dose may cause cramping. The preparation of aloe for use couldn't be simpler. Just slice off a small piece and dab onto affected area. The jelly-like juice will work it's magic with no further attention, and the plant will "heal" itself. Many ][ /// J/ hospital burn units use aloe i /// J/. Vca era for severely burned pa- ll] /// //JJ /, tients with no more sophisti- [ ted application than laying slices of the plant onto the burned area. To obtain a suf- ficient amount for a liquid purge, cut off a nice plump leaf close to the base. Suspend over a cup or glass with tooth picks and let it drain, gently squeezing it from the top downward. Every household should have an aloe vera for first-aid treatment. They're easy to grow and they can be used for so many minor problems in humans as well as for pets.