Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease of the immune system that typically affects joints. According to latest findings researchers say people consuming high amounts of red meat may be doubling their risk for rheumatoid arthritis .
Researchers compared 88 rheumatoid arthritis patients, drawn from a research sample of over 25,000 men and women between the ages of 45 and 70, with 176 controls. Participants in the study completed a seven-day food diary and were asked about their smoking habits.
Results showed those eating the most red meat had twice the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. Patients consuming red meat as well as other types of meat had similar higher risk factors. However, higher levels of dietary fats, including saturated fat, did not appear to have an effect.
Researchers say they are unsure exactly why red meat has this effect, speculating the high collagen content of meat may provoke an immune response in individuals with a predisposition for rheumatoid arthritis. Thus researchers conclude saying that, a high level of red meat consumption may represent a novel risk factor for inflammatory arthritis or may act as a marker for a group of persons with an increased risk from other lifestyle causes.