Arthritis help in colorful produce

Published 1:48 am Wednesday, May 3, 2006

By By Carolyn Bivins
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 (EPIC)-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, "We found that the average daily beta-cryptoxanthis intake of the 88 patients who had developed inflammatory polyarthritis was 40% 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…Color It Healthy
Create your salads and other side dishes from a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables to gain the most advantage from the nutrients, fiber and phytochemicals in these foods. Phytochemicals are chemicals plants produce that are thought to have beneficial health effects. Eating five or more fruits and vegetables a day has been associated with helping protect against certain types of cancer, arthritis, heart disease and osteoporosis as well as with aiding in weight control.
Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables daily." For starters, here's a palette of possible colors:
Orange: Apricots, cantaloupe, carrots, papaya, peaches, oranges;
Green: Broccoli, lettuce and other greens, spinach, chives, peas, kiwi fruit, green peppers. When considering green plant foods you might also think about adding herbs for flavor and color. Some possibilities include: basil, dill, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary;
For more information: Visit the Web sites of the Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBHF) ( and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) ( and Walton County(Florida) Extension – Donnie Law

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