As summer heats up, give your body a sweet cooldown. That’s right – ’tis the season to send a fruity punch straight to the source of your body’s inflammation, as some of summer’s most delicious treats are excellent resources for healing.
“Inflammation of the body is your immune system’s response to what it considers potentially harmful, such as bacteria, viruses, wounds, or chemicals,” says James W. Flanagan, M.D., Flanagan Family Medicine. Conditions that cause inflammation include cystitis, an inflammation of the bladder; dermatitis, an inflammation of the skin; or arthritis, an inflammation of the joints.
“Symptoms such as swelling, pain, or loss of function in a particular area of your body could indicate that you have inflammation,” adds Dr. Flanagan.
So while you’re grocery shopping for your next summer picnic, consider the following fun-to-eat fruits that’ll help you fight inflammation naturally. Most of them are packed with anthocyanin, a flavonoid that makes up pigments of blue to red in these juicy foods. Anthocyanin also possesses anti-inflammatory properties so strong that some researchers compare the effects with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen.
- Tart cherries: Thanks to their high anthocyanin content, tart cherries can help relieve joint pain and gout symptoms
- Strawberries: Studies indicate that consuming 16 or more strawberries per week can lower your body’s C-reactive protein, which is linked to inflammation that accompanies arthritis and heart disease. Strawberries are also high in anthocyanin and folic acid.
- Watermelon: Not only is watermelon rich in antioxidants that protect against certain cancers, research suggests this summer favorite can also improve risk factors for cardiovascular disease by lowering inflammation. Watermelon is also high in betacryptoxanthin, which can reduce the risk for rheumatoid arthritis.
- Dried plums: The unique potency of dried plums can prevent bone loss and restore bone, likely because of their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.