Q: I have been reading that fermented foods seem to diminish inflammation. Could soaking raisins in gin be a fermentation process? Maybe this helps explain why gin-soaked raisins can ease joint pain for people with arthritis.

A: We first heard about raisins soaked in gin for arthritis three decades ago. Why some people get relief from this remedy and others don’t remains a mystery.

Fermented foods such as kimchi, kombucha, kefir, natto, sauerkraut or pickles have a beneficial impact on the gut microbiome. There is growing evidence that this population of microbes in our digestive tracts has a significant impact on immunity, inflammation and overall health.

That said, putting raisins in gin for several days is not likely to lead to fermentation. Gin, after all, is already a product of fermentation. It contains enough alcohol to preserve the raisins.

Anyone who would like to learn how to make gin-soaked raisins can watch the video in our eGuide to Alternatives for Arthritis. This online resource is located under the Health eGuides tab at www.PeoplesPharmacy.com. It also contains dozens of other options to ease joint discomfort.

Q: I started eating pistachios daily about six months ago. My last blood work for cholesterol showed my triglycerides to be normal for the first time ever! I couldn’t figure out why the sudden drop until I realized that eating pistachios was the only change I’d made.


A: Nutrition studies have found the same effect of eating pistachios. A meta-analysis of 34 trials found that a pistachio-enriched diet lowers triglycerides as well as total and LDL cholesterol (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Jan. 1, 2020). Other nuts, including walnuts and almonds, are also beneficial, but pistachios are the stars.

Q: I read your article on nutmeg allergy recently. My daughter is allergic to peas, chickpeas and lentils. She has been to the emergency room multiple times.

Unfortunately, pea protein is a new additive to many products. Skippy peanut butter recently added pea protein to their reduced-fat brand. Another ER visit. Then pea protein was in coffee creamer. Another ER visit. Then in macaroni. Another ER visit.

I would like to make the public aware of the danger of these additives to unexpected foods. My daughter reads all labels. However, she had eaten Skippy her entire life and had no idea that pea protein had been added to the low-fat formula two weeks before she bought it and had such a bad reaction.

A: You are right that pea protein is now showing up in many foods. Look out for it in energy bars, veggie burgers, cereal and many other foods. Not all peanut butter contains pea protein, but some do. Consequently, your daughter and others who share her allergy will need to be even more obsessive about poring over food labels.

Q: My little toe was sore for weeks and eventually became unbearable. I looked online and determined that I had a corn on the outside of that toe.

I soaked the foot, dried it and gently rubbed the corn with a pumice. I cut a small piece of duct tape and applied it over the corn. The peak of the corn was outlined by the tape. After repeating the entire procedure a second day, the peak lifted out with the duct tape. The pain was gone.

A: Thank you for sharing this remedy. We have seen reports that this works for warts, but yours is the first testimonial for corns.