Inflammation is a complex biological process that is part of the body’s natural response to injury, infection, or harmful stimuli. Yet while inflammation is a natural function of the immune system, severe or chronic inflammation can be harmful or an indicator of an underlying condition. Diet is one of many factors that can play a role in reducing inflammation, though, and research from recent years has shown that certain foods—especially particular fruits—may be able to lower inflammation and potentially prevent some inflammatory diseases.
While temporary inflammation is essential for healing and protecting the body, chronic inflammation can persist for years and cause a variety of additional symptoms. Chronic inflammation is also associated with a wide range of conditions like cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and Alzheimer’s disease. It is also thought to play a significant role in obesity-related chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. If left untreated, various cells, tissues, and organs can become damaged.
Fortunately, doctors have, over time, identified a number of strategies to fight inflammation; for some severe cases prescription medication is necessary, but many people can also improve inflammatory markers by making different lifestyle choices like quitting smoking or drinking significantly less alcohol. But one of the most accessible ways to make a difference is through healthy eating and adopting a healthy diet that limits the kinds of processed foods and fried foods that are all too common in the average American diet.
Of course limiting inflammatory foods is only part of the solution; the other part involves selecting foods with actual anti-inflammatory compounds. In addition to providing a variety of other health benefits, fruits contain important compounds called antioxidants. Most antioxidants in fruits come from phytochemicals like anthocyanins and carotenoids that give fruits their pigments. Antioxidants are important because they protect the body’s cells from the potential damage of free radicals, which are small particles thought to contribute to inflammation.
Whether eaten fresh or as an ingredient in a recipe, essentially all fruits have antioxidants in varying amounts. That is why it’s important to have a diet that includes multiple servings of a variety of fruits, whole grains, and vegetables like leafy greens. Because even apart from antioxidants, a diet focused on a diverse set of whole foods has numerous health benefits that can lower risk factors for different types of disease. Below are some of the best fruits with the highest antioxidant content:
The science is clear that a variety of fruits should be a regular part of our diet; this is true because of the body’s need for essential nutrients, but it’s also true because of how important antioxidants are for our long-term health. At FruitSmart, we offer juices, essences, concentrates, and purees are always of the highest quality. More than that, though, our fruit ingredients can provide a burst of flavor and various health benefits to a wide range of products like beverages, cocktail mixes, candies, fruit spreads, kombuchas, and nutraceuticals. If you’d like to learn more about how FruitSmart can help you develop your next hot new product, please contact us today.