A study of >20,000 participants found that eatingfoods high in vitamin C may protect againstinflammatory polyarthritis, a form of rheumatoidarthritis involving 2 or more joints. The findingsstem from diet diaries the participants kept.Although all the participants were arthritis-freewhen the study began, the researchers focusedon 73 participants who developed inflammatorypolyarthritis during follow-up between 1993 and2001, and 146 similar participants who remainedarthritis-free.
The results indicated that low intake of fruits,vegetables, and vitamin C increased the risk ofinflammatory polyarthritis. Specifically, thepatients who consumed the lowest amounts ofvitamin C were 3 times more prone to developthe condition, compared with the patients whoconsumed the highest amounts. While the lowerintake of fruits and vegetables appeared toincrease the arthritis risk, the trends were notstatistically significant, explained researchers inthe Annals of Rheumatic Diseases (July 2004).