Rheumatoid Arthritis: NHS on common signs and symptoms

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Arthritis is a condition synonymous with rising inflammation levels which negatively affect the joints and muscles. Overtime, this pain can become more severe and make everyday tasks next to impossible. When it comes to beverages to help reduce this process two buzzwords include anthocyanins and polyphenols.

Cherries are a rich source of polyphenols, naturally occurring plant-based compounds that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

They are also a good source of dietary fibre and are considered low on the glycaemic index.

Studies show that tart cherries can help reduce the pain and stiffness associated with arthritis and other joint pain disorders.

Several studies have also shown the juice version helps to aid significantly in exercise recovery and muscle pain after exercise.

The juice contains anthocyanins, which are anti-inflammatory compounds responsible for the red, blue, and purple colours of fruits and vegetables.

Some research suggests that anthocyanins help to combat a variety of chronic inflammatory diseases, including arthritis, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even cancer.

Anthocyanins are said to decrease inflammation by suppressing pro-inflammatory compounds in the body, including cyclooxygenase (COX) which is the same pro-inflammatory enzyme targeted by anti-inflammatory drugs.

In addition, tart cherry juice has high concentrations of polyphenols like flavonoids.

Highlights from a study on cranberry juice for arthritis which was published in Science Direct included:

  • Cranberry decreased disease activity measured by Disease Activity Score 28 in rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Cranberry decreased diseased activity measured by anti-citrullinated peptide in rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Cranberry juice may have beneficial effects in rheumatoid arthritis.

A study published in the National Library of Health, investigated pure polyphenols and cranberry juice to help with antioxidant capacity.

Anthocyanins and the broader class of polyphenols are strong antioxidants.

Polyphenols are one of the major antioxidants in plant foods, and the beverages derived from them. There is extensive evidence in the literature that polyphenols are beneficial to health.

“Other fruit juices such as cranberry juice are high in the flavonoids known as anthocyanins,” noted the study.

“Our group has shown that cranberry has the highest fresh weight concentration of polyphenols among the commonly consumed fruits.

“As determined by our antioxidant capacity assay commercial 100 percent cranberry juice ranks the highest among commonly consumed fruit juices.”

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