Inflammation is linked to numerous health conditions, according to a Harvard Medical School report. Chronic inflammation plays a role in diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, asthma, and Alzheimer’s, to name a few.
Inflammation has been studied extensively over the past 10 years, but the medical field has been a bit slow to begin addressing the root causes of inflammation and instead tends to treat symptoms. However, as research continues to find inflammation the culprit behind many diseases, some researchers are focused on identifying the best ways to reduce it.
What, Exactly, is Inflammation?
Inflammation is part of the body’s immune response. It’s designed to defend the body against damaged cells, bacteria, viruses and other invaders. When you get a cut on your finger, it reddens and feels hot. That’s inflammation doing its job to prevent the wound from getting infected. This is known as acute inflammation.
When inflammation occurs, your white blood cells release chemicals into the bloodstream, increasing the flow of blood to an area of infection or injury. These chemicals can also cause fluids to leak into the body’s tissues, causing swelling, and they stimulate nerves, causing pain. Acute inflammation isn’t an infection, but rather protection against infection.
Chronic inflammation is a whole different story. While acute inflammation disappears in a matter of days, chronic inflammation can last weeks, months, or even years. Chronic inflammation can affect all of your organs. It can cause swelling of the blood vessels, known as vasculitis, and it can cause enlargement of the kidneys and reduce its function, known as systemic lupus erythematosus. It can also cause general symptoms, such as fatigue, mouth sores, chest and abdominal pain, fever, rash, and joint pain.
Causes of Inflammation
Chronic inflammation can be caused by a poor diet, chronic stress, a lack of exercise, and a range of foods. Other causes of chronic inflammation include:
•A body’s inability to curb the acute inflammatory response.
•A defect in a protein known as CYLD, which is key to managing the body’s inflammatory response.
•Excess fatty tissue in the body, which produces inflammatory cytokines in the body.
•An imbalance in gut bacteria, which can contribute to inflammation.
•Exposure to high levels of toxins and pollutants.
Foods that are considered pro-inflammatory include:
•Sugar, including added sugar.
•Saturated fats found in fried foods, fast food, processed snack foods, stick margarines, and pastries.
•Omega 6 oils, which in excess can trigger inflammation. These include corn, safflower, sunflower, soy, peanut, and vegetable oils.
•Refined carbs, including white-flour products like pasta, bread, crackers, and cereals.
•MSG, which can trigger two pathways of chronic inflammation and cause liver problems.
•Aspartame, which can cause an inflammatory response if your body is sensitive to it.
•Excessive alcohol use, which weakens liver function and causes inflammation.
How to Reduce Inflammation
Happily, reducing inflammation in your body isn’t rocket science. There are a number of lifestyle changes you can make to reduce inflammation and therefore your risk of disease. Reducing inflammation can improve symptoms of existing diseases as well.
First and foremost, do away with the inflammatory-producing foods mentioned above. Then, fill your body with healthy foods, including plenty of fruits and vegetables, beans and legumes, healthy fats, lots of herbs and spices, and reasonable amounts of red wine.
Secondly, take anti-inflammatory supplements. Omega-3 supplements, such as Nerveology’s Antarctic Krill Oil, have been shown through numerous studies to reduce body-wide inflammation.
Turmeric, that bright yellow spice, contains a powerful anti-inflammatory component called curcumin. Nerveology’s Turmeric Curcumin supplement contains 95 percent curcuminoids for excellent protection against inflammation.
Bromelain, which is found in pineapples, is an enzyme that’s also been shown to reduce inflammation and swelling.
Finally, move your body. Exercise is a major inflammation fighter. A study in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity found that just 20 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise decreases the inflammatory response. Strive for 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week for the best inflammation-lowering effects.
Reducing inflammation can have positive effects on your mind and body. By changing your lifestyle to include a nutritious diet, targeted supplementation, and plenty of exercise, you can improve your health and enjoy a reduced risk of many diseases.