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.