The phrase "anti-inflammatory" is thrown around often in wellness circles, especially in conversations about food and nutrition. But what does it actually mean for something—like a fruit, vegetable, or recipe—to be anti-inflammatory? Two registered dietitians help to unpack this healthy descriptor, recommend their favorite fruits to help reduce unwanted inflammation in your body, and explain what gives them the ability to do that.
Why Reducing Inflammation Is Important
Your body has the potential to exhibit two different kinds of inflammation. “The first type, called acute inflammation, is the short term pink or red or swelling around a wound that happens while the wound is healing,” says Janice Chow, MS, RD, registered dietitian and owner of nutrition counseling service The Mindful Chow. This kind of inflammation is helpful to your body, and it’s your system’s natural reaction to an unwanted intruder (injury, illness, infection, and so on).
Chronic inflammation is the second kind of inflammation, and it is more damaging to your health if it’s not addressed. It is termed ‘chronic’ because it doesn’t resolve, but occurs for a longer period of time. “Chronic inflammation could be triggered by various factors, like external and internal traumas,” Chow explains. “It might be diseases or conditions that a person might have, or a prolonged environmental impact [that they’ve experienced].” Examples of environmental triggers include psychological stress, air pollution, and poor nutrition. “The chronic inflammation that arises as a result of these triggers can create an environment for diseases to occur,” Chow says.
How Eating Fruit Helps Lower Chronic Inflammation
What makes many types of fruit highly anti-inflammatory foods is that they contain nutrients and compounds that help lower this chronic inflammation, Chow says, drawing particular attention to two major groups of compounds found in food: antioxidants and fiber.
“The role of antioxidants is to neutralize some of the unstable molecules in our body that might happen during inflammation,” Chow explains.
Unstable molecules called free radicals are produced when your body is exposed constantly to environmental triggers like toxins in the air, alcohol consumption, stress, poor nutrition, and the like, explains Annie Zappulla, BS, RDN, registered dietitian and owner of A to Z Wellness Solutions LLC.
“An excessive amount of these unstable molecules may cause longer term damage to our cells, and there are theories that this kind of cellular damage may lead to chronic diseases,” Chow says. A higher intake of antioxidants through foods (mostly plant foods) can help to neutralize these unstable molecules.
Research also points to fiber as the other most beneficial compounds for reducing chronic inflammation, Chow says. One way that fiber may do this is by supporting a gut pH level that decreases inflammatory molecules.
Full article here: https://www.realsimple.com/anti-inflammatory-fruits-7975129
realsimple.com/September 27, 2023