A common type of autoimmune arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis cause joint pain and damage throughout a person’s body. In this condition, the immune system attacks its own tissues, thereby causing inflammation and joint pain particularly in the wrist and small joints of the hands and feet.
Fortunately, researchers from Brazil have found a natural solution for reducing joint pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis. In their study, which was conducted in the University of Londrina, results revealed that a certain compound found in cranberries and other wild foods can help lower inflammation-causing genes.
For the 90-day study period, 41 women were followed and divided into two groups: a group of women who stayed with their normal diet and a group that adds cranberry juice in their diet. At the end of the study, researchers found the those who daily drink a half liter of cranberry juice have lower levels of antibodies that attack the immune system, thus resulting to less swollen joints and less tender joints.
What’s Inside the Cranberries?
Cranberries are rarely eaten raw due to its very sharp and sour taste. They are often consumed as a juice. Fresh cranberries are nearly 90% water and the rest are mostly fiber and carbs. The juice extracted from cranberries is a rich source of several vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, B6, C, E, and K1, thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, manganese, folate, zinc, and copper.
The fruit also contains important bioactive plant compounds and antioxidants particularly polyphenols and flavonol:
Quercetin – a polyphenol with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce the genes that cause inflammation in the joints and protects the body against the harmful effects of free radicals. Depending on the fruit’s quality, half a liter of raw cranberry juice contains approximately 82 units of quercetin.
A-type proanthocyanidins – also called condensed tannins, these polyphenols have antibacterial properties that are believed to be effective against UTIs and can help prevent stomach cancer.
Ursolic acid – this is a triterpene compound which is concentrated on the cranberries’ skin. It has been used in many traditional medicines due to its powerful anti-inflammatory effects. It can protect the musculoskeletal system and the cardiovascular system.
Myricetin – this flavonoid has anti-inflammatory effects that contribute to the overall effects of the cranberry juice. Studies have also found that it can help improve heart health and brain health.
The authors of the study state that:
“The present study indicated that cranberry juice decreases disease activity and therefore has beneficial effects for rheumatoid arthritis patients, although larger and long-term studies are needed to definitively probe this effect and to clarify the mechanisms involved.”
Other foods that are rich in quercetin are as follows:
- Fennel leaves
- Raw Onions
- Black and green tea
- Radish leaves
- Coriander leaves
- Lovage leaves,
- St. Johns Wort flowers
Other Health Benefits Of Cranberry Juice
- Improves heart health
- Fight age-related oxidative damage
- Improves digestion
- Anticancer Potential
- Anti-tumor Effects
- Improves post-menopausal health
- Fights lung infection
- Strengthens bones and teeth