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Before delving into the reasons why incorporating fruit into your diet can effectively aid in controlling inflammation, it is essential to establish a fundamental understanding of what inflammation is. It sounds terrible, and can be, but it is actually a natural and vital mechanism intricately involved in the healing process. Inflammation serves as a protective response by the immune system when an injury or infection occurs. It plays a crucial role in safeguarding and repairing damaged tissues. However, it is chronic inflammation, characterized by its persistent presence, that emerges as a genuine concern. Chronic inflammation has is strongly linked to a myriad of diseases like heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, arthritis, and numerous others (1).

An Inflammatory Analogy

To comprehend the impact of chronic inflammation, envision a scenario where you accidentally cut your arm. As expected, the affected area becomes slightly reddish and swollen as your immune system endeavors to shield and support the healing process—this is an instance of acute inflammation. Given adequate time, the injury heals, and the inflammation subsides naturally.

Now, envision an alternative scenario where you repeatedly inflict cuts on the same spot day after day. In this situation, the injured area will continuously remain in a state of inflammation, which ultimately leads to the deterioration of the surrounding tissues—this exemplifies chronic inflammation. As time progresses, the risk of infection increases, exacerbating the situation further. Within your body, chronic inflammation operates in a similar manner, manifesting within vital systems such as blood vessels. The damage incurred by these structures impedes their ability to heal effectively since fresh damage continues to occur before complete restoration is possible (1).

Why Fruit for Inflammation?

However, there is no need for despair! Incorporating fruits into your diet can be a valuable strategy for controlling inflammation. In fact, the more fruit you consume, the better the outcomes. The association between chronic inflammation and the generation of free radicals, which are known to cause cellular damage, sheds light on the effectiveness of fruits in combatting inflammation. Fruits, being rich sources of antioxidants, play a pivotal role in neutralizing free radicals, rendering them harmless (1). This is a crucial aspect of utilizing fruit as an ally against chronic inflammation.

Cherry Fruit for Inflammation

The potency of fruit in combating chronic inflammation can be exemplified through the examination of cherries. Cherries stand out as one of the exceptional sources of antioxidants, making them an excellent choice for combating chronic inflammation. It is worth noting that antioxidants neutralize free radicals. Yet their effectiveness is limited to specific cellular compartments that are either predominantly water or fat-based. However, cherries possess a unique composition of antioxidants, including vitamin A (a fat-soluble antioxidant) and vitamin C (a water-soluble antioxidant).

Unlike many other fruits, cherries offer a combination of these two types of antioxidants. This provides a more comprehensive protection against free radicals. Furthermore, cherries contain additional antioxidants. There are flavonoids, peryl alcohol (which has demonstrated anticancer properties) (2), and a diverse array of organic acids. Numerous studies have explicitly linked cherries to the reduction of inflammation (3) and a diminished risk of cancer (4).

While cherries undoubtedly possess exceptional anti-inflammatory properties, it is important to note that all fruits contain antioxidants to varying degrees. Consequently, all fruits possess some capacity to combat chronic inflammation, albeit to differing extents. Therefore, it is advisable to incorporate a variety of fruits into your diet to maximize the benefits of their anti-inflammatory effects. As a general rule of thumb, fruits with vibrant and rich colors tend to possess higher antioxidant power. Therefore, cherries, alongside an assortment of berries, represent excellent choices in the pursuit of inflammation reduction through dietary means. By diversifying your fruit intake, you can harness the collective power of various antioxidants present in different fruits, enhancing their synergistic effects on combating chronic inflammation.