Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Arthur investigates...Can almonds help arthritis?

Can a handful of almonds keep your arthritis in check? Almonds are a good source of magnesium, calcium and phosphorous - all of which are important for healthy bones. They are full of healthy monosaturated fats and a reasonable source of arthritis-friendly omega 3 fatty acids (although this high fat content makes them high in calories). Almonds are also an extremely good source of vitamin E. Vitamin E is an important antioxidant and helps support a healthy immune system.

People with inflammatory arthritis have been shown to consume less vitamin E than healthy subjects but there is no evidence that eating less vitamin E causes or exacerbates arthritis. One small study suggested that giving patients with rheumatoid arthritis additional vitamin E could help reduce the number of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory painkillers they needed to take due to reducing joint symptoms but the authors concluded that more evidence was needed. Researchers have also looked at whether vitamin E can help slow the rate of cartilage degeneration in osteoarthritis but most have concluded that it has little effect.

So almonds won't cure creaky joints but they can make a good alternative to crisps or chocolate - just make sure they are plain and not salted or honey-roasted! They are a great snack to have along side something like fruit as the healthy fats and fibre in them help slow the rate at which your body processes down the fruit sugars and so helps keep you feeling satisfied for longer; try 6 or 7 with an apple.You can also try them on top of porridge, flaked on top of curries or as a healthier replacement to butter in cakes.

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