Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables: You’ve heard it from everyone from your mom to the U.S. government, which currently recommends at least five (and preferably nine) servings per day. A new study from Spain backs up this sound advice, using cutting-edge nutrigenomics techniques that look at how foods affect gene expression.
Researchers found that of 120 healthy young adults, those who ate the most fruits and vegetables had significantly lower levels of inflammation markers in their white blood cells, including C-reactive protein (CRP), which has been associated with heart disease risk. Chronic inflammation has been linked to range of conditions including heart disease, osteoporosis, cognitive decline and Alzheimer's, type 2 diabetes, and arthritis.
This isn’t the first study to attribute health benefits to produce-eating: A 2009 study of 193 adults, ages 45 to 102, found that those with a high daily intake (about 400 grams) of fruits and vegetables did better, regardless of age, on cognitive tests than those who ate fewer than 100 grams per day. To see benefits, researchers recommended eating at least six servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit every day.
With an abundance of fresh produce now in season—and therefore cheaper and generally higher in nutrients—it’s a great time to focus on eating fruits and vegetables with every meal, and for snacks.
If you’re concerned about inflammation, read up on Supplements to Decrease Inflammation.