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Inflammation and Diet

Leading an anti-inflammatory lifestyle is on most people’s radar these days. In my last post I mentioned the role that healthy fats play in an anti-inflammatory diet. This time I will be discussing how fruits and vegetables aid in lowering inflammation.

Fruits and vegetables are loaded with phytochemicals and antioxidants. What is a phytochemical? They are chemicals found in plants. We now know that when we consume these plants, their phytochemicals include benefits linked to reducing our risk of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Let’s look at how phytochemicals protect the plants that contain them: 

1. Plants rely on phytochemicals for their own protection and survival. 
2. They help plants resist attacks from bacteria or fungi.
3. Phytochemicals protect plants against the potential havoc from free radicals.
4. They protect plants from constant exposure from the sun’s UV rays.

When we consume plants, the same protection they get from phytochemicals, is passed on to us. 

Antioxidants are substances, such as vitamin C or E, which remove potentially damaging oxidizing agents in a living organism. Basically they protect you from damaging components, such as pollution. Antioxidants are found in plant-based foods. Eating your fruits or vegetables give your body the necessary antioxidants that halt or even repair damage brought on by free radicals. The most potent antioxidants include vitamins A, C, and E along with selenium. 

It’s always best to try to acquire your vitamins and minerals from food. In order to try to reach the amounts you need on a daily basis, the recommendation is at least 5-9 servings of fruit or vegetables per day. I know it sounds like an overwhelming amount but it can be done by simply remembering to include 1 serving of fruits or vegetables (or both) at each meal.

To learn more about inflammation and diet or to set up an appointment with The Houstonian Club’s Registered Dietitian, Denise Hernandez please email her at dhernandez@houstonian.com or call 713.685.6894.

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