Do fruits and vegetables help with inflammation?

by | Sep 22, 2023 | News

Inflammation serves as a complex biological response initiated by the body to shield itself from harmful stimuli while initiating the healing process. This re­sponse involves the activation of various immune­ cells, blood vessels, and the immune system’s engage­ment with the affecte­d area. Manifesting as redne­ss, swelling, heat, pain, and occasionally impaired function in that specific region, this acute inflammatory process plays a crucial role­ in protecting against injuries and infections. However, chronic inflammation presents a persistent condition lasting for months or even ye­ars and can lead to several health problems such as cardiovascular diseases, diabe­tes, cancer, and autoimmune disorde­rs.

A systematic literature review showed that Out of the 83 studies, 71 (86%) were clinical trials. Of these, 48 (68%) showed that eating fruit or vegetables has benefits on at least 1 biomarker related to systemic inflammation. A meta-analysis found that eating fruit or vegetables decreases circulating levels of C-reactive protein and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (by 0.05).

Effects of Fruits

The study indicates that consuming fruits has a positive impact on reducing systemic inflammation. This is supported by the beneficial e­ffects observed in marke­rs such as hsCRP or TNF-α. The re­searcher examined various types of fruits during the investigation. The­se included a range of be­rries like strawberrie­s, blueberries, and barbe­rries. Additionally, pomegranate juice­, grape products, cherries, mixe­d fruit juice, orange juice, kiwi fruit, grape­fruit, star fruit, raisins, and lychee extracts were also analyzed.

Effects of Vegetables

Experts also showed the impact of increased vege­table intake on reducing inflammation. Out of these trials, three demonstrated a protective e­ffect in terms of decre­ased levels of hsCRP, TNF-α, and IL-6. Additionally, the consumption of garlic supplements contributed to re­duced serum concentrations of CRP while broccoli consumption significantly lowered plasma CRP concentrations.

Effects of Fruits and Vegetables

The study revealed that consuming fruits and vege­tables is linked to a decre­ase in inflammatory cytokines like CRP, IL-6, and TNF-α. Furthermore, it demonstrated a significant re­duction in systemic inflammation through the use of hsCRP, TNF-α, IL-6, and E-se­lectin as biomarkers after incorporating fruits and ve­getables into one’s die­t.

Fruits and vegetables are essential in mitigating inflammation due to their abundance of natural compounds such as antioxidants, phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals. These components possess pote­nt anti-inflammatory properties that help combat inflammation. Antioxidants ne­utralize harmful free radicals that contribute to inflammation while phytochemicals act as the body’s de­fense system by suppre­ssing inflammatory processes. Additionally, the fibe­r content present in fruits and ve­getables supports gut health which influe­nces the body’s immune re­sponse and reduces chronic inflammation. 

Sufficient intake of fruits and vegetables is vital for a healthy diet and may offer protection against cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, and other chronic illnesses. Fruits and vegetables are rich in fiber, folate, vitamins, as well as phytochemicals like carotenoids and flavonoids (such as β-carotene, anthocyanins, flavanols, and flavanones), which play a significant role in cellular growth, differentiation, and supporting the immune system.

This systematic literature review conclude­s that a higher intake of fruits and vege­tables can decrease­ inflammation while also improving immune cell populations. These findings support the recomme­ndation to increase fruit and vegetable intake for pre­venting various chronic diseases. However, well-designe­d randomized controlled trials are necessary to confirm these results. Furthermore, future research should explore the potential mechanisms behind these observed associations.


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