Produce protects against arthritis

Published 8:14 pm Wednesday, May 3, 2006

By Staff
Your morning glass of orange juice may be doing more than just helping you wake up - it might reduce your risk of arthritis. Researchers at the University of Manchester in England have found a possible link between consumption of brightly-colored fruits and vegetables, such as oranges, bell peppers, pumpkins, tangerines and papayas, and lower odds of developing inflammatory polyarthritis. The most common subgroup of inflammatory polyarthritis is the rheumatoid arthritis.
The bright color indicates the fruits and vegetables are high in the pigment betacryptoxanthin, an antioxidant thought to protect against inflammation. The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, looked for connections between dietary beta-cryptoxanthin intake and inflammatory disorders. Researchers' analyzed health questionnaires and diet diaries among the more than 25,000 participants in the European Prospective Investigation of Cancer Incidence-Norfolk study. They then compared the diets of 88 subjects who had developed arthritis with those of 176 control subjects.
Dorothy Pattison, PhD, who held the research, says, &#8220We found that the average daily beta-cryptoxanthis intake of the 88 patients who had developed inflammatory polyarthritis was 40 percent lower than those in the lowest third, and vitamin C was also found to be an important factor.”
In research published last year in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, Pattison and colleagues found that subjects with the highest intake of vitamin C were three times less likely to develop inflammatory polyarthritis than those who consumed the least vitamin C. In the latest study, the effects of beta-cryptoxantinn was less dramatic when the results were adjusted to account for vitamin C but still significant. Most of the fruits and vegetables high in pigment also contain lots of vitamin C.
Drinking just one glass daily of freshly squeezed orange juice is enough to raise beta-cryptoxanthin intake to the level associated with reduced risk, according to Pattison. Many other dietary sources are also good sources of beta-cryptoxanthin, Pattison stresses.
So when planning your menu don't forget to