OK, the link between higher amounts of meat and inflammation isn’t exactly news to most people but it’s always great when research backs up our understanding: eating more meat spells higher inflammation levels in the body.
That’s the conclusion of scientists at the Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences, Nutritional Epidemiology at the University of Bonn in Germany. They examined 46 studies to assess markers of inflammation, particularly a substance known as C-reactive protein. C-reactive protein has been linked in other research as a precursor to serious, chronic diseases like heart disease.
In the Bonn, Germany study published in the journal Nutrition Reviews, scientists found higher levels of inflammation markers, especially C-reactive protein in meat-based or “Western-like” diets while plant-based diets high in fruits and vegetables tended to result in lower inflammation levels.
That’s good news for anyone striving to eat a plant-based diet focused on more fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are nutritional powerhouses thanks to their macronutrient content (amino acids, natural sugars for energy, and fatty acids) as well as their micronutrient content, which includes vitamins and minerals. But that’s not all. Fruits and vegetables are high in phytonutrients. “Phyto” means “plant” so “phytonutrients” simply means plant nutrients. There are hundreds of different phytonutrients in fruits and vegetables, which include: anthocyanins, carotenoids, catechins, flavonoids, polyphenols, and others.
Phytonutrients have been shown in research to help keep us fitter, protect our memory, improve our eyesight, ward off the effects of aging, fight cancer, and much more. So, it’s no surprise that a diet high in phytonutrient-rich foods reduces inflammation in the body.
The study’s results are also good news because inflammation is increasingly being linked to most forms of chronic disease, including: heart disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, and many others. Knowing that a simple switch to a plant-based diet high in fruits and vegetables can cause a significant drop in disease-producing inflammation, means we can empower ourselves to take charge of our health and dramatically reduce our likelihood of experiencing serious illness. If we’re already experiencing one of these serious illness, then we can also empower ourselves to take charge of the illness in a natural way, free of side-effects.