Four berries that can help ‘protect’ against arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis: NHS on common signs and symptoms

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Around 10 million Britons are currently living with arthritis and other joint problems. The condition can cause joint pain, inflammation and mobility issues. While there is no cure, there are ways to try to ease symptoms.

Like with many medical conditions there is evidence to suggest your diet can have an impact on arthritis.

Healthcare company Penn Medicine recommends eating berries – specifically blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and blackberries to reduce inflammation.

It explains: “Berries pack a double dose of anti-inflammatory properties.

“All fruits are high in antioxidants, which can help fight inflammation.

“Additionally, foods like blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and blackberries contain anthocyanins, which reduce inflammation.”

What does the research say?

One study, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, supported the claim that fruits containing anthocyanins can help with inflammation.

As part of the research, it studied the use of raspberry extract on cells from cows as well as arthritic rats.

It says: “In summary, this study provides insights into the anti-inflammatory effects of the red raspberry fruit and adds to the growing body of biological data on polyphenolic-enriched berry extracts.”

A separate paper, published in the Food and Function journal, revealed that blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and pomegranates could help protect against arthritis.

A team analysed a series of existing studies on the subject to come to its conclusion.

“Fruits, such as berries and pomegranates are rich sources of a variety of dietary bioactive compounds, especially the polyphenolic flavonoids that have been associated with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects,” it says.

“Emerging research demonstrates a protective role of fruits and their polyphenols in pre-clinical, clinical and epidemiological studies of OA and RA.

“In this context, commonly available fruits, such as blueberries, raspberries and strawberries, and pomegranates have shown promising results in reducing pain and inflammation in experimental models and in human clinical studies of arthritis.”

The report adds: “In conclusion, on the basis of emerging pre-clinical, epidemiological and clinical data, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries, as well as pomegranates are among the commonly available fruits that may offer some protection against arthritis.”

Symptoms of arthritis

The most prevalent form of arthritis in the UK is osteoarthritis, which affects almost nine million people.

To begin with, it compromises the smooth cartilage lining of the joint, making movement more difficult and leading to pain and stiffness.

It typically affects joints in the hands, knees, spine and hips.

Rheumatoid arthritis is the second most common form of arthritis.

It occurs when the body’s immune system targets affected joints, causing pain and swelling.

Symptoms of arthritis can include:

  • Joint pain, tenderness and stiffness
  • Inflammation in and around the joints
  • Restricted movement of the joints
  • Warm red skin over the affected joint
  • Weakness and muscle wasting.

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