A vegan diet can be beneficial for rheumatoid arthritis sufferers, it has emerged.
Researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm have surmised that a diet which excludes animal products and gluten can reduce the risk of a stroke or heart attack – both of which are common among rheumatoid arthritis.
During the study, 38 volunteers were placed on a strict vegan diet, rich in nuts, sunflower seeds, fruit and vegetables, millet and corn.
A further 28 participants followed a healthy diet.
Those on the vegan diet showed a decrease in the total level of cholesterol and specifically a reduction in the amount of the 'bad cholesterol' low-density lipoprotein.
In contrast, those on the non-vegan diet showed no significant variations in these levels.
Speaking to the BBC, a spokesperson for the Arthritis Research Campaign said that the study was of interest but could exaggerate the role of diet.
According to NHS Direct, rheumatoid arthritis affects approximately 350,000 people in the UK and is more common in women than men.
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