By: Leslie Bonci, MPH, RDN, CSSD, LDN

When it comes to overall health and wellness, free radicals, antioxidants, and inflammation are important factors worth addressing. Free radicals are molecules that our bodies release naturally. They are a byproduct of our metabolisms and are also formed when we are exposed to environmental stressors, such as cigarette smoke, pesticides, or other chemicals. When our bodies do not have enough antioxidants to balance out these free radicals, our bodies experience oxidative stress. Oxidative stress can contribute to the development of chronic inflammation or chronic diseases, which can ultimately affect our quality of life.

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As such, it is important that we include a healthy serving of antioxidants in our diets. Antioxidants are substances that remove free radicals in our bodies and help us control the inflammation our bodies experience. Antioxidants include Vitamins C and E, carotenoids (such as beta-carotene), lycopene, lutein, zeaxanthin, and selenium. Polyphenols – a nutrient found in plants – also exhibit antioxidant effects. Fruits – such as California Prunes – are concentrated in these types of nutrients and therefore carry the critical anti-inflammatory benefit that our bodies need.

Creating a healing plate that includes California Prunes can help you optimize your ongoing health and wellness as you move through life. Try some of our recipes at CaliforniaPrunes.org or find interesting and creative ways to add California Prunes to your meals and snacks!

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