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Arthritis Symptoms May be Alleviated by Fruits and Vegetables

If you or someone you know suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, you know how painful and debilitating it can be. If you haven't walked a mile in those shoes, you can't imagine how frustrating it can be. Your doctor may say try this medication, try that. Don't do this, do that. But sometimes, to no avail. The disease is caused by a misguided immune system attack on the body's own joint tissue, which leads to swelling, pain, stiffness and in some cases deformity. Rheumatoid arthritis is more common among women than men.

Perhaps what you're eating, or more specifically what you're not eating can be causing some of your soreness. Recent findings suggest that a diet high in fruits, vegetables, legumes and certain oils aids in relieving symptoms in people with rheumatoid arthritis. After following a diet rich in fruits and veggies for three months, people with rheumatoid arthritis experienced a number of improvements not seen in people following a typical American diet high in processed foods. Some of the improvements shown include a decrease in pain, inflammation, disease activity and in the number of swollen joints. Further, previous research suggested that more olive oil and cooked vegetables help protect people from the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

The current results suggest that "patients with (rheumatoid arthritis) can obtain better physical function and increase their vitality" from eating a fruit, vegetables, legumes and some oils diet for three months, write Dr. Lars Skoldstam of Visby Hospital in Sweden and colleagues.

This plan is similar to that of people who live in the Mediterranean. They also tend to eat a lot of fruit, vegetables, and legumes, more fish and less red meat. Moreover, they drink a moderate amount of wine, and rely on olive oil as their main source of dietary fat. Earlier research has suggested that followers of this diet enjoy a wide range of benefits, such as a lower risk of heart disease, cancer and memory loss.

Additional studies have shown that citrus fruit and zinc may also cut rheumatoid arthritis risk. Citrus can be helpful because of the antioxidants they contain. Findings are not conclusive, yet promising.

In the study, the doctors found that women getting less than 40 micrograms of beta-cryptoxanthin, a component found in citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruit were at a somewhat elevated danger of developing rheumatoid arthritis than women who consumed more than that amount.

Although thus far it has only been proven that genetics is the culprit behind rheumatoid arthritis, if there have been some findings as to the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables, wouldn't it make sense for suffers to up their intake? It certainly can't hurt... and may actually help. Now please pass the broccoli with a side of grapefruit!

About the Author

Joe Serpico is webmaster at For much more information regarding exercise, health, nutrition, and fitness, visit


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