Study shows Brightly Colored Veggies help Reduce Risk of Arthritis
Researchers from The University of Manchester's Medical School
have discovered that eating more brightly-coloured fruits and
vegetables like oranges, carrots and sweetcorn may help reduce the risk
of developing inflammatory disorders like rheumatoid arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis currently affects
around 1% adults in the UK. Previous studies have suggested that
vitamin C and the pigment beta-cryptoxanthin, both of which are found
in brightly-coloured fruit and veg, may act as antioxidants, and
protect the body against the oxidative damage which can cause
The Manchester team, based in the
Arthritis Research Campaign's Epidemiology Unit, worked with
researchers from the Institute of Public Health at the University of
Cambridge to analyse health questionnaires and diet diaries by over
25000 45-74 year-olds; completed as part of the EPIC (European
Prospective Investigation of Cancer) Norfolk study of diet and chronic
disease in the 1990s. They then followed-up the participants over
a nine year period to identify new cases of inflammatory polyarthritis
(IP), including rheumatoid arthritis.
Dr Dorothy Pattison, who led the research, said: "We
found that the average daily beta-cryptoxanthin intake of the 88
patients who had developed inflammatory polyarthritis was 40% lower
than those who hadn't, and their intake of another carotenoid,
zeaxanthin, was 20% lower.
"Those in the top third for
beta-cryptoxanthin intake were only half as likely to develop IP as
those in the lowest third, and vitamin C was also found to be an
The findings appear to confirm
previous evidence that a modest increase in fruit and vegetables
containing beta-cryptoxanthin and vitamin C, equivalent to one glass of
freshly-squeezed orange juice each day, might help to protect against
developing inflammatory joint diseases.
Dr Pattison has previously published
research which found that both low intakes of fruit and vegetables (in
particular those high in vitamin C), and high levels of red meat
consumption were associated with an increased risk of developing IP.
A full paper on the findings of the research appears in the August issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (http://www.ajcn.org/current.shtml).
The EPIC Norfolk study is funded by the Medical Research Council, Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation.