Sweet Relief: Pomegranate and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Sweet Relief: Pomegranate and Rheumatoid Arthritis

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  • What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

    What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

    Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in the body. It’s an aggressive form of arthritis that primarily affects the joints, but can also cause damage to major organs. Over time, joints may even become deformed.

    There is no cure for RA. Treatment revolves around pain relief, reducing inflammation, and slowing progression of the disease. The disease is said to be in remission when inflammation is low or absent.

  • The Role of Diet in Inflammation

    The Role of Diet in Inflammation

    According to the Physicians for Responsible Medicine, research shows that foods may play a role in arthritis. Some foods may contribute to the type of inflammation seen in RA patients. Others may be beneficial to relieving symptoms of inflammation.

    A diet composed of fruits, vegetables, beans, and grains appears to have a positive effect on arthritis. In particular, foods that contain antioxidants may help prevent inflammation and alleviate symptoms.

  • About the Pomegranate

    About the Pomegranate

    The pomegranate is a fruit about the size of an orange with a reddish outer skin. The inside of the fruit is filled with hundreds of seeds. Many people eat only the seeds, but you can eat the flesh too. The fruit can also be made into juice.

    The pomegranate is a healthy food due to what it offers nutritionally: fiber, vitamin K, potassium, folate, and copper—as well as what it lacks: saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium. One pomegranate contains about 40 percent of the daily requirement of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant.

  • The Pomegranate/RA Connection

    The Pomegranate/RA Connection

    A small 2011 study showed that pomegranate extract decreased joint tenderness in RA patients by 62 percent. Researchers credited the fruit’s antioxidative properties, concluding that pomegranates may help lessen symptoms in people who have RA.

    According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, pomegranate extract may block production of a cartilage-destroying enzyme.

  • What Else Should I Know?

    What Else Should I Know?

    Eating pomegranates is as safe as eating any other fruit. When shopping for pomegranate juice, read labels carefully. Products with added sugars aren’t good for you, so choose 100 percent pomegranate juice.

    Consult your doctor if you’re considering pomegranate supplements or extracts. It’s important to note that pomegranate juice may interact with some medications and make them less effective. These may include ACE inhibitors, blood pressure medication, statins, and warfarin (a blood thinner).

  • Another Reason to Eat Pomegranates

    Another Reason to Eat Pomegranates

    It’s important for people with RA to take care of their health and stay strong. Diet plays a vital role in overall health and well-being.

    Like most fruits, the pomegranate is packed with essential nutrients and dietary fiber that should be part of a balanced, healthy diet. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, pomegranate is a healthier choice than processed foods, which may be high in calories, but low in nutrition.

  • On the Horizon

    On the Horizon

    According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), there isn’t enough strong evidence to confirm that pomegranate is effective in treating any health condition. Studies of pomegranates and RA are ongoing.

    In addition, researchers are exploring the role of pomegranates in treating other conditions. These may include osteoarthritis, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. In the meantime, there’s no harm in enjoying the fruit.

  • Takeaways


    Pomegranates have long been considered a “superfood,” and have a history of being used to treat a variety of health problems. There is some evidence to suggest its antioxidant properties may improve joint tenderness associated with RA. But any way you slice it, the pomegranate is high in nutrition and low empty calories, and a sensible part of a healthy diet.