Awareness of the relationship between inflammation and chronic illness brings a plethora of dietary recommendations, dietary supplements, and lifestyle programs, many of which claim to offer new ways to improve your health by reducing inflammation.
While it is true that scientists are discovering new contexts and expanding their knowledge of the factors that may contribute to or help combat inflammation, there is practically nothing groundbreaking in knowledge about inflammation itself. In the same way, the extensive anti-inflammatory lifestyle style shrinks to a simple medical recommendation that your grandmother might have given you
Table of Contents
Choose a healthy meal
The pivotal role of our diet in chronic inflammation is primarily attributed to our gut microbiota. This microbiota – previously referred to as “digestive bacteria” – secretes various chemicals that can either instigate or mitigate inflammation. The specific kinds of bacteria colonizing our gut and the chemical by-products they produce are directly influenced by our dietary choices.
Certain foods encourage the proliferation of bacteria types that incite inflammation, while others foster bacteria varieties that diminish it.
Fortunately, they are likely to consume many foods and drinks that are associated with reducing the development of inflammation and chronic diseases. Some of the following include:
Fruits and vegetables – Most fruits and brightly colored vegetables naturally contain high levels of antioxidants and polyphenols – potentially protective compounds found in plants.
Nuts and seeds – The studies have found that nut and seed consumption is associated with reduced markers inflammation and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Beverages – It is believed that polyphenols in coffee and flavonols in cocoa have anti-inflammatory properties. Green tea is also rich in polyphenols and antioxidants.
A review published in May 2016 by the British Journal of Nutrition summarized a number of studies supporting the idea that dietary polyphenols may reduce the development of inflammation and improve the function of cells that line blood vessels. Foods high in polyphenols include onions, turmeric, blue grapes, green tea, cherries and plums, as well as dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, cabbage and cabbage.
In addition, olive oil, flax-seed oil and fatty fish such as salmon, sardines and mackerel, offer healthy benefits of mega-3 fatty acids, which have long been shown to reduce development of inflammation. Because omega-3 fatty acids can cross the blood-brain barrier, they can even help reduce inflammation associated with Alzheimer’s disease and reduce the risk of stroke.
Unsurprisingly, the foods that often lead to inflammation are also typically considered detrimental to other aspects of our wellbeing. This includes sugary drinks and refined carbohydrates like white bread, pasta, and white flour, as well as red and processed meats.
Consuming these kinds of unhealthy foods could potentially lead to weight gain, which is a risk factor for inflammation. Moreover, certain ingredients found in processed foods, such as the emulsifiers often added to ice cream, can also contribute to inflammation.
Better adjust your diet overall, rather than choosing “good and bad foods”
To focus on anti-inflammatory eating, it’s best to focus on a healthy overall diet rather than on individual “good” and “bad” foods. A healthy diet generally means foods that include fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, fish and healthy oils and restricts foods with a high content of simple sugars (such as sweet drinks, candies), beverages containing fructose corn syrup (often even in sports drinks) and refined carbohydrates
Regular physical activity is not only a key factor in maintaining a healthy weight, but also serves as a shield against a wide array of chronic diseases. These include cardiovascular diseases, blood sugar imbalances, dementia, and depression. Exercise isn’t just about staying in shape, it also promotes a healthier body through its anti-inflammatory effects.
Research indicates that regular physical activity can decrease the spread of macrophages – cells that trigger inflammation in fat tissues. Furthermore, exercise also stimulates the release of anti-inflammatory proteins and brain chemicals that counteract cytokinins, further enhancing its anti-inflammatory benefits. So, let’s get moving and boost our overall health!
Take care of your weight
Overweight often contributes to inflammation. Scientists now realize that body fat is more than just an inert tissue that your body simply carries. Adipose tissue rather produces a wide range of hormones and chemicals associated with inflammation.
For reasons that are not yet well understood, abdominal fat in particular appears to be an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Not surprisingly, keeping the body mass index within the normal range significantly reduces cardiovascular and other risks.
Do not smoke
More specifically, smoking toxins damage the lining of the blood vessels, which promotes the development of atherosclerosis. Smokers also have a high level of CRP, indicating chronic inflammation. CRP levels decrease when a person gives up cigarettes. Smoking also exacerbates chronic inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
Get well enough
Tens of millions of people suffer from chronic sleep deprivation. Many people reduce their sleep hours due to a busy schedule. Others suffer from a sleep disorder, such as insomnia or sleep apnea, in which intermittent airway blockage causes respiratory arrest and restoration during sleep.
However, the risks of poor sleep worsen mood and dampen life productivity. Even a single night of inadequate sleep can disrupt your life cycle. Irregular sleep patterns outside normal seven to nine hours per night associated with high blood pressure, diabetes and ischemic heart disease. A short sleep – less than six hours per night – seems particularly dangerous for the heart. People without sufficient sleep also appear to have higher levels of stress hormones in the blood that promote inflammation.
In some studies, people have consumed very small amounts of food, which is attracted to consuming pro-inflammatory, highly sweet or fatty foods. It is also possible that the fatigue caused by frequent sleep interruptions causes people to be less physically active and thus neglects to exercise anti-inflammatory effects.
Regularly take care of your health with your doctor and dentist
Regular health screenings enable physicians to identify potential health issues and suggest appropriate treatments before inflammation exacerbates the condition. For instance, a doctor-prescribed asthma management plan can help prevent life-threatening flare-ups.
Moreover, addressing risk factors for heart disease can help suppress inflammation in blood vessels and slow down the progression of atherosclerosis. Statin medications are particularly effective in reducing LDL cholesterol – a significant contributor to plaque build-up in the arteries. Additionally, statins seem to diminish CRP levels, a general body marker used to forecast the likelihood of heart disease, and inflammatory chemicals that cause damage to the artery-forming cells.
Lastly, frequent dental check-ups and maintaining optimal oral hygiene not only promote healthy teeth and gums but can also regulate inflammation that may be linked to other health issues, such as heart disease.
What Influences Inflammation
Many factors of everyday lifestyle and the environment are well known to contribute to inflammation and chronic diseases. Scientists have identified health habits that protect or at least do not support inflammation.
Some herbs and spices, tea, cocoa
Chronic stress either
Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds
Inactive lifestyle chooses
A healthy balance between energy intake and expenditure