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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2017 Jun;1398(1):99-107. doi: 10.1111/nyas.13365. Epub 2017 Jun 2.

Protective influence of healthful nutrition on mechanisms of environmental pollutant toxicity and disease risks.

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Superfund Research Center, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky.
Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences, College of Medicine, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky.
Department of Animal and Food Sciences, College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky.


Human exposures to environmental contaminants around the world contribute to the global burden of disease and thus require urgent attention. Exploring preventive measures against environmental exposure and disease risk is essential. While a sedentary lifestyle and/or poor dietary habits can exacerbate the deleterious effects resulting from exposure to toxic chemicals, much emerging evidence suggests that positive lifestyle changes (e.g., healthful nutrition) can modulate and/or reduce the toxicity of environmental pollutants. Our work has shown that diets high in anti-inflammatory bioactive food components (e.g., phytochemicals or polyphenols) are possible strategies for modulating and reducing the disease risks associated with exposure to toxic pollutants in the environment. Thus, consuming healthy diets rich in plant-derived bioactive nutrients may reduce the vulnerability to diseases linked to environmental toxic insults. This nutritional paradigm in environmental toxicology requires further study in order to improve our understanding of the relationships between nutrition and other lifestyle modifications and toxicant-induced diseases.


anti-inflammatory nutrients; antioxidants; environmental pollutants; nutrition

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