Eating fruits and vegetables has been advocated by many health experts as it protects the body from inflammatory diseases like diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. Much is known about the efficacy of eating such healthy whole foods. Experts noted that eating black, red, and purple fruits and vegetables can increase the consumption of polyphenols which reduce inflammation in the body.
Polyphenols and Inflammation
Polyphenols are metabolites from plants. Naturally, they are utilized by plants as a defense against ultraviolet rays and from pathogens. Polyphenols are also considered antioxidants. Researchers from the University of Liverpool studied the effects of polyphenol-rich foods in reducing the amount of pro-inflammatory proteins of the body. The pro-inflammatory proteins are linked to the development of different chronic conditions. In the study, they compared 31 polyphenols and six polyphenol mixtures of the pro-inflammatory proteins.
Researchers found out that polyphenols like curcumin, resveratrol, vanillic acid and isorhamnetin can change the inflammatory immune response by lowering the levels of cytokines (pro-inflammatory signaling molecules) from the released T-lymphocytes or killer T-cells. Moreover, researchers found out the interaction between the polyphenols is to control the release of cytokines further.
According to Sian Richardson from the University of Ageing and Chronic Disease, the study is very promising as it suggests that the polyphenols may be used to reduce the release of pro-inflammatory mediators especially among people who are at risk of chronic inflammation.
Baby Boomers and Older Can Benefit from Eating Fruits and Vegetables
Consumption of fruits and vegetables can help people from all walks of life especially the elderly as they are more susceptible to chronic inflammation. Eating fruits and vegetables can increase their source of polyphenols to improve their well-being considerably.
The benefits of polyphenols have been widely documented in previous studies. Its consumption can have protective effects against age-related conditions like diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. However, the challenge is how to understand the efficacy of the polyphenols once inside the body. The body processes the polyphenols and turn them into a catabolite. For example, flavonoids–a type of polyphenol– absorbed in the small intestines, pass to the colon where they are converted into a lower molecular weight catabolite such as phenolic acid by the gut microbiota. Once it is converted into phenolic acid, little is known about its potential anti-inflammatory effects. Most researchers deduce that since the catabolites have lower molecular weight, their effects might be less active when it comes to reducing the release of the cytokines compared to the unaltered polyphenols.
However, one study suggests that even at this state, catabolites are still potent in reducing the pro-inflammatory responses of the body. In the research, they noticed that vanillic acid can still minimize the release of inflammatory cells which led to the conclusion that it is significantly relevant in treating inflammatory diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Vanillic acid is a catabolite found in acai berries, wheat, and blackcurrant juice.
Consumption of fruits and vegetables is beneficial to the body as it can fight off different kinds of inflammation. Eat fruits and vegetables regularly and make it part of your healthy daily habits.
Inspired by foodnavigator.com