An increase in fruit and vegetables in the diet could help in the fight against arthritis, say researchers.
Five portions of fruit and vegetables are advised daily
Scientists found that a diet low in fruit and vegetables - particularly those containing vitamin C - appeared to increase the risks of developing inflammatory arthritis.
Researchers from the Arthritis Research Campaign (ARC); University of Manchester and the Institute of Public Health, at Cambridge University studied about 25,000 people over eight years to see the effect of diet on their arthritis risk.
Research dietician Dorothy Pattison said: "We wanted to find out whether fruit and vegetable consumption - the main dietary source of vitamin C - could affect a person's risk of developing inflammatory polyarthritis."
All those studied in the EPIC-Norfolk study (an ongoing study of diet and chronic diseases) were given health and dietary assessments.
They were then followed up to see which of them developed inflammatory polyarthritis.
These latest findings suggesting that low doses of vitamin C could also be a risk factor are clearly worthy of further study
Dr Madeleine Devey, of the Arthritis Research Campaign
They found 73 cases of the condition and when they looked at their food diaries they found that these people had a particularly low intake of fruit and vegetables.
Professor David Scott, President of the British Society for Rheumatology, said more research was now needed into the area.
"It seems there is a particularly strong link between the risk of developing some forms of arthritis and a low intake of vitamin C.
"We feel these findings may have important implications for the role of diet in reducing the risk of inflammatory arthritis."
Dr Madeleine Devey, of ARC said the Norfolk Arthritis Register had produced some interesting data.
"It has already established that smoking and blood transfusions are two significant risk factors for developing rheumatoid arthritis.
"These latest findings suggesting that low doses of vitamin C could also be a risk factor are clearly worthy of further study."