What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is inflammation within a joint. The two most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is a form of degenerative arthritis. It occurs when the cartilage becomes thinner and rougher. The bone underneath then tries to repair this damage but sometimes overgrows, altering the shape of the joint.
This loss of cartilage, and the wear and deformation of bone, causes inflammation of the joint, causing stiffness and pain.
It is more common in older people, especially women, and particularly affects the joints that get heavy use, such as hips and knees, and also often the base of the thumb and the big toe joint. Rheumatoid arthritis is a form of inflammatory arthritis. It is an autoimmune disease, which means that the immune system starts attacking the body’s own tissues instead of germs and viruses. Rheumatoid arthritis causes inflammation in the synovium - the protective capsule surrounding the joint – which turns red, swells, produces extra fluid and is very painful.
How Montmorency Cherries Help?
Anthocyanins are the compounds found in Montmorency cherries that give the fruit its bright red colour. Research studies have shown anthocyanins to possess anti-inflammatory properties. Montmorency cherries have been shown to contain significantly more anthocyanins than other varieties of cherries and other fruit and vegetables containing these naturally-occurring compounds.
Including Montmorency cherries in the diet, in juice, dried or powdered forms, therefore, may help reduce the inflammation and pain associated with painful joint conditions, including osteo and rheumatoid arthritis.
A study from the Department of Medicine, Oregon Health & Science University, investigated the effect of Montmorency cherry juice on women with osteoarthritis. The design was a randomized, double blind, placebo controlled trial. Twenty inflammatory osteoarthritis subjects (all female; 40-70 yrs) consumed Montmorency cherry juice or placebo twice daily for 21 consecutive days. Participants assessed level of pain at baseline and after the intervention. Blood samples were collected at baseline and final visit to assess the biomarkers of inflammation. Subjects on the Montmorency cherry juice showed a statistically significant reduction in the inflammation serum biomarker CRP (p<0.05).
The study drew a conclusion that Montmorency cherry juice may reduce inflammation as measured by certain serum inflammatory biomarkers among women with osteoarthritis.
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