A promising study from the University of Londrina in Brazil has found a natural, preventative solution for reducing joint pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis. The answer is found inside cranberries. A compound found in cranberries and other wild foods may reduce inflammation-causing genes.
The study followed forty-one women over a ninety day period. The women who consumed a half liter of cranberry juice on a daily basis showed lower levels of antibodies that attack the immune system. After spending ninety days on the low-calorie cranberry juice protocol, women reported less swollen joints and less tender joints. The reports were backed up by blood samples that measured the women’s anti-CCP antibody levels. These antibodies, which cause damage to the joints, are produced by an overactive immune system. The women who drank cranberry juice on a daily basis had drastically lower levels of anti-CCP antibodies than the women who stayed with their normal diet.
The secret of cranberries lies in a compound called quercetin, which is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Quercetin effectively “dials down” the genes that cause inflammation in the joints. Cranberries also contain myricetin, a polyphenol antioxidant that contributes to the overall anti-inflammatory effect of cranberries. The fruit also contains ursolic acid, which is another strong anti-inflammatory compound. These anti-inflammatory compounds protect, not only the musculoskeletal system, but also the cardiovascular system, reducing stiffness in the vesicles. Not to be forgotten are A-type proanthocyanidins, which are condensed tannins that give cranberries their antibacterial properties. In fact, another study found that approximately 16 ounces of cranberry juice daily can prevent a kind of bad bacteria called H. pylori from attaching to the lining of the stomach. For this reason, cranberries effectively prevent stomach cancer.
Depending on its quality, a half liter of raw cranberry juice contains approximately 82 units of quercetin. According to the FDA's Database for the Flavonoid Content of Selected Foods, the only substance that compares is elderberry concentrate, which contains 108.16 units of quercetin per 3.5 ounces. Other good sources of quercetin include raw onions, peppers, capers, bee pollen, fennel leaves, okra, cocoa powder, buckwheat, radish leaves, lovage leaves, st. johns wort flowers, and coriander leaves.
Quercetin is found in lesser amounts in kale, asparagus, blueberries, watercress, oregano, cabbage, black currants, apples, and spinach, among other natural and wild foods.
The authors of the study, state: “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.”
For now, those who suffer from joint pain can enjoy food high in quercetin to find real relief.
For more on the healing power of antioxidants, visit Antioxidants.News.