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Are there any links between tomatoes and worsening arthritis?

Q) I've heard so much about the link between consumption of tomatoes and worsening arthritis that I'm anxious to find out if there's any authoritative research that suggests it's so. I'm 63 (fit because I'm a fitness instructor, but that involves a lot of wear and tear and over-use of joints) and aware of worsening pain since my glut of tomatoes starting in July. Maybe I’m clutching at straws?
Mary, Halesworth (Winter 2011

A) I know of no research that links consumption of tomatoes with arthritis. Of course, it's just possible you have a food allergy to tomatoes and this manifests as arthritis rather than rash or diarrhoea but I've found food allergies to be a very rare cause of arthritis. Try excluding them (and other similar foods) from your diet. Joint symptoms increase with age but I doubt your exercise is linked with arthritis. Research suggests that normal use of the joints is good for them. It's only when injury occurs that the risk of arthritis is increased. This is why a lot of ex-footballers have knee arthritis. It also explains the different patterns of arthritis seen with occupational use, particularly in the hand.

This answer was provided by Dr Philip Helliwell for the Winter 2011 edition of our magazine, Arthritis Today, and was correct at the time of publication.

Send your questions for Tom to enquiries@arthritisresearchuk.org


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