Arthritis affects more than 49 million people in the United States, that is, one of every five American adults suffer from this chronic inflammatory joint disease.
If you have arthritis, you are already familiar with the swelling, pain, and fatigue that accompany the disease. You probably also know that there is no single treatment for arthritis, and that dealing with the symptoms can be a daily struggle.
Your diet - and the fruits you eat - is an important piece of the puzzle in the management of the disease.
Fruits are full of antioxidants, which are powerful substances that fight against free radicals caused by oxidative stress in the system.
Medications and treatments, such as physical therapy, can certainly be useful for people suffering from arthritis, but there is also another key element in the care process: nutrition.
While there is no universally prescribed diet for arthritis, certain foods have been shown to alleviate the discomfort associated with the disease.
Fruits are especially effective in helping to reduce inflammation in the body, which is the main cause of muscle pain, joint stiffness and pain that you may experience with arthritis. Fruits have many antioxidants, the powerful substances that fight against free radicals caused by oxidative stress in the system.
They are also rich in vitamins, which your body metabolizes and uses for a variety of different biochemical functions, including cell repair and tissue growth.
These are some of the fruits that I suggest to my patients for the treatment of arthritis.
• Blueberries contain high levels of anthocyanins, a phytonutrient that stimulates the production of collagen. Our tissues are composed of collagen, so eating a cup of these berries (fresh or frozen) a day can protect us against tissue damage.
• Strawberries have recently been shown to help reduce levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) in the blood, a measure of inflammation in the body.
• Cherries are rich in phytochemicals that reduce inflammation; Sour cherries may even have a higher level of anthocyanins than cranberries.
• Apples, replete with antioxidants, have been shown to help reduce levels of C-reactive protein. The skin of the apple contains the most beneficial substances, so make sure you do not take it off.
• Rhubarb is a rich source of calcium, which is vital to the health of strong bones. Cooked rhubarb is known to provide more useful calcium to your body than if it is consumed raw.
About the author
Eilender is a university professor and writer of health sciences, located in New Jersey.