Fruits are beneficial for a wide variety of reasons, but studies are showing how some of them can be very effective against autoimmune inflammatory diseases like arthritis.
By Dawn Flemming
Fruits are good for you in general. They have lots of vitamins, minerals and other kinds of nutrients. Some fruits contain elements which help reduce inflammation or even chronic inflammation which characterizes many autoimmune diseases like ulcerative colitis or arthritis.
The different kind of colors you find in fruits often characterize the kinds of antioxidants that they contain. Each kind of antioxidant plays its own role in reducing inflammation in the body by fighting free radicals which are responsible for a lot of inflammatory problems in the body.
In this article, we’re going to look at the top fruits that can help with arthritis which is an autoimmune and chronic inflammatory disease of the joints.
From strawberries to other kinds of berries, you always hear that they have antioxidants that can help with inflammation. A powerful feature of avocados, unlike most fruits, is that they contain vitamin E which is a powerful anti-inflammatory. Studies have shown that to a certain extent, vitamin E can decrease or even prevent rheumatoid arthritis.
Watermelon is one of those low calorie tasty summer treats. But studies have also shown that they may reduce C-reactive proteins in the body (CRP) which is a measure for body-wide inflammation that is often linked with arthritis.
So how does it help? Arthritis.org states the following:
It’s high in the carotenoid beta-cryptoxanthin, which can reduce the risk of rheumatoid arthritis, according to studies that followed people’s dietary habits over time. It leads the fruit pack in lycopene, an antioxidant that may help protect against certain cancers and lower heart attack risk, says Dulan.
Once cup has about 40% more lycopene than raw tomatoes, the next richest raw food source. Watermelon is also ninety-two percent water, which makes it great for hydration and weight management. One cup of watermelon has about 40 calories – plus about a third of your recommended daily allowance of vitamins A and C.
Watermelon also contributes to weight and fat loss which can contribute to the progression of inflammatory diseases like RA.
Grapes are good alternative to candy. They are small, sweet and crunchy. When in season, grapes are not too expensive either. The Arthritis Foundation is quite adamant on the helpful benefits for grapes for people who suffer from the disease. They state:
“Grapes, both white and darker-colored varieties, are a great source of beneficial antioxidants and other polyphenols,” says Dulan. [Mitzi Dulan, a Kansas City-based dietician and team sports nutritionist for the Kansas City Royals] “Fresh red and black grapes also contain resveratrol, the heart-healthy compound found in red wine that contributes to cardiovascular health by improving the function of blood vessels.”
Resveratrol is also a potent anti-inflammatory. Studies show this bioactive compound acts on the same cellular targets as NSAIDs. Researchers are studying its potential for improving symptoms of osteoarthritis, as well as for other chronic diseases linked to aging.
Remember that genes and bad luck aren't the only reasons for diseases like arthritis. Our environment, including our diet also plays a role. By changing our diet we can help alleviate some of the symptoms of this painful disease.
Dawn Flemming is Director of Business Services at Geriatric In-Home Care in Fresno, California.