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Apples vs. Arthritis

Apples May Delay Development of Arthritis

Apples have long been the traditional gift of teacher appreciation in the classroom, a gift that comes with a plethora of benefits. Along with fiber and vitamin C, apples are packed with polyphenols, healthful phytonutrients including epicatechin, catechin, quercetin and condensed tannins (also known as procyanidins), a type of flavonoid that may make apples a suitable snack to reduce risk and help treat symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

In a 2015 study published in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, Japanese researchers fed one group of mice Fuji apples, packed with condensed tannins, with their normal diet. The other group ate only normal food.  After two weeks of eating the apples, mice were exposed to a simulation of human rheumatoid arthritis. While the group who did not eat the apples developed the condition rapidly, the apple-fed mice saw a less severe, delayed disease progression with fewer symptoms of swelling and inflammation.  

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disorder in which the body mistakenly attacks its own tissues, causing painful swelling, stiffness, swollen joints and potential for joint deformity and bone erosion. The condition may also increase risk of carpal tunnel syndrome and heart and lung complications. Eating apples regularly may be a way to reduce risk of this painful condition.

The possibilities for eating apples are nearly endless. Apples make a satisfying snack when paired with peanut or almond butter and add great taste and texture to chicken salad, slaws or wraps. They also taste great baked, stewed or even sautéed with onions. For a crunchy mix of sweet and savory, try our Romaine, Fennel and Apple Salad.

BONUS: Australian researchers found that those with the highest fruit and vitamin C intakes were least likely to develop the kind of bone abnormalities that indicate incipient arthritis of the knees. Eat more fruit today to help prevent pain later in life!

Published September 1, 2015

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