Cherries Cure Arthritis?
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Eating cherries may help reduce the pain of rheumatoid arthritis.
WHAT WE KNOW
Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the body begins attacking its own tissues on the ends of bone, triggering severe inflammation and pain. The cause is unknown. There are a few studies that suggest that supplementing the diet with cherries or cherry juice may help reduce the pain associated with inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis. There are also studies that have observed decreases in inflammation with a dietary pattern that contains fruits and vegetables, including a Mediterranean diet.
HOW DO WE KNOW THIS?
A preliminary study in 2003 by the USDA suggested that there are some natural compounds in Bing Cherries that may help reduce inflammation, which causes the pain with rheumatoid arthritis. The study was the first to show in humans what had been observed in the laboratory. A subsequent study also observed that markers of inflammation in the blood were lowered when the diet was supplemented with cherries. However, these studies have been done with small numbers of individuals and are far from conclusive. They also did not evaluate change in perceptions of pain associated with the arthritis. There is also some research that suggests that dietary patterns that include higher amounts of fruits and vegetables, including the Mediterranean diet may help rheumatoid arthritis. These findings are also preliminary. Furthermore, what works for one person may not work for another because everyone reacts differently to treatments.
A dietary pattern that includes fruits and vegetables may be beneficial for rheumatoid arthritis as well as numerous other chronic diseases. It also may help promote desirable weight and maintain nutritional status. Consumption of cherries is not harmful and may possibly be beneficial, and so can be a part of a dietary pattern that includes a variety of fruits and vegetables. However, more research is needed to understand the relationships of cherry consumption to reducing pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis.