What fruit should you reach for every day if you want to safeguard yourself from chronic inflammation? Coupled with a healthy, balanced diet and lifestyle choices, if you've guessed blueberries, you'd be correct.
These small-but-mighty purplish-blue berries—brimming with antioxidants—pack a major punch when it comes to their health benefits from lowering your cholesterol and blood pressure to helping with weight maintenance and reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease.
The link between antioxidant-rich blueberries and chronic inflammation.
"Fruits, like blueberries, are extremely rich in antioxidants: plant compounds that fight inflammation. Antioxidants work by absorbing oxidative stress that we get from our environment—often through foods that are inflammatory (meat, processed foods, sugar)—and neutralizing them, thereby decreasing inflammation in the body," says Dana Ellis Hunnes PhD, MPH, RD, senior dietitian at UCLA Medical Center and author of Recipe For Survival: What You Can Do to Live a Healthier and More Environmentally Friendly Life.
Indeed, inflammation wreaks havoc on your body and is linked to various health conditions and diseases: "Chronic, low-level inflammation causes oxidative stress in the body that leads to many of the chronic conditions common to Western nations," says Trista K. Best, MPH, RD, LDN of Balance One Supplements. "The most common of these conditions caused and/or exacerbated by inflammation include heart disease, obesity, and most notably aging."
In blueberries their toxin-removal process "benefits overall health by preventing cellular damage that leads to chronic diseases like cancer and obesity," says Best.
Studies show that blueberries not only contain the highest levels of polyphenol antioxidants, they also exhibit the strongest free-radical-fighting antioxidant capacity amongst the three berries tested: blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries.
Ways to eat more blueberries
Whether you put blueberries in your morning bowl of cereal or oatmeal, snack on 'em plain, or slip them into a post-workout smoothie, try to eat these nutritious berries as much as possible to target chronic inflammation.
For more on their incredible health perks, check out What Happens to Your Body When You Eat a Cup of Blueberries Every Day.
Blueberries are one of the most potent fruit sources of inflammation-fighting antioxidants, which makes them the best fruit for inflammation.
While it may be true that blueberries are a great option for fighting inflammation, it should go without saying that beyond blueberries, the entire plant-verse is well worth incorporating into your diet as frequently as you can.
"To be honest, any fruit or vegetable/plant food will be anti-inflammatory and provide nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, potassium, magnesium, and antioxidants that are anti-inflammatory, so it's really difficult to pick just one," adds Ellis Hunnes.
For more healthy eating news, don't miss Eating Habits That Make Your Inflammation Worse, Say Dietitians.