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Vegetables and Fruits Reduce Arthritis Risk

People who consume more vegetables and fruits have a lower risk of developing arthritis. Vegetables and fruits contain pigments called "carotenoids", which appear to be the agents responsible for the lowered risk. They have an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect.

Researchers at the University of Manchester in the UK analyzed data from a study of more than 25,000 subjects to investigate the association between dietary carotenoids and arthritis risk. Between 1993 and 2001, the group was followed to assess the occurrence of arthritis affecting multiple joints.

Eighty-eight subjects developed arthritis during follow-up and they were matched to 176 healthy comparison subjects.

Average daily intakes of the carotenoids beta-cryptoxanthin and zeaxanthin were 40% and 20% lower for arthritis patients compared with healthy subjects. Further analysis showed that subjects with the highest beta-cryptoxanthin and zeaxanthin intake were about half as likely to develop inflammatory polyarthritis than those with the lowest intake.

Most of us don't eat nearly enough vegetables and fruits. A healthy diet is an inexpensive way to help prevent arthritis and reduce its symptoms.

Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, August 2005