Dietary fruits and arthritis
Arthritis is a global health concern affecting a significant proportion of the population and associated with reduced quality of life. Among the different forms of arthritis, osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are the most common and lacking a definite cure in the affected individuals. Fruits, such as berries and pomegranates are rich sources of a variety of dietary bioactive compounds, especially the polyphenolic flavonoids that have been associated with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. Emerging research demonstrates a protective role of fruits and their polyphenols in pre-clinical, clinical and epidemiological studies of OA and RA. In this context, commonly available fruits, such as blueberries, raspberries and strawberries, and pomegranates have shown promising results in reducing pain and inflammation in experimental models and in human clinical studies of arthritis. There is also some evidence on the role of specific fruit polyphenols, such as quercetin and citrus flavonoids in alleviating RA symptoms. These emerging data deserve further investigation in rigorous scientific studies to determine the mechanisms, dosing and selection of fruits and fruit extracts in arthritis management.