Thu | May 19, 2022

Reduce inflammation in your body

Published:Wednesday | April 27, 2022 | 12:09 AMKeisha Hill/Senior Gleaner Writer

You cannot see it or feel it, but inflammation may slowly be damaging your body. Inflammation, which is part of the body’s natural healing system, helps fight injury and infection, but it does not just happen in response to injury and illness.

An inflammatory response can also occur when the immune system goes into action without an injury or infection to fight. Since there is nothing to heal, the immune system cells that normally protect us begin to destroy healthy arteries, organs and joints.

When you do not eat healthy, do not get enough exercise, or have too much stress, the body responds by triggering inflammation. Chronic inflammation can have damaging consequences over the long term. So, the food you eat, the quality of sleep you get and how much you exercise is important when it comes to reducing inflammation.

Early symptoms of chronic inflammation may be vague, with subtle signs and symptoms that may go undetected for a long period. You may just feel slightly fatigued, or even normal. As inflammation progresses, however, it begins to damage your arteries, organs and joints. Left unchecked, it can contribute to chronic diseases, such as heart disease, blood vessel disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and other conditions.

The most common way to measure inflammation is to conduct a blood test for C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), which is a marker of inflammation. Doctors also measure homocysteine levels to evaluate chronic inflammation. Finally, physicians test for HbA1C, a measurement of blood sugar to assess damage to red blood cells.

You can control and even reverse inflammation through a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle. People with a family history of health problems, such as heart disease or colon cancer, should talk to their doctors about lifestyle changes that support preventing disease by reducing inflammation.

SIX TIPS FOR REDUCING INFLAMMATION IN YOUR BODY

LOAD UP ON ANTI-INFLAMMATORY FOODS

Your food choices are just as important as the medications and supplements you may be taking for overall health since they can protect against inflammation. Making good choices in our diet to include fresh vegetables and fruits as well as reducing refined sugar intake can make a big difference.

• CUT BACK OR ELIMINATE INFLAMMATORY FOODS

An anti-inflammatory diet also limits foods that promote inflammation. Inflammatory foods include red meat and anything with trans fats, such as margarine, corn oil, deep-fried foods and most processed foods.

CONTROL BLOOD SUGAR

Limit or avoid simple carbohydrates, such as white flour, white rice, refined sugar and anything with high fructose corn syrup.

• MAKE TIME TO EXERCISE

Regular exercise is an excellent way to prevent inflammation. Make time for 30 to 45 minutes of aerobic exercise and 10 to 25 minutes of weight or resistance training at least four to five times per week.

• LOSE WEIGHT

People who are overweight have more inflammation. Losing weight may decrease inflammation.

• MANAGE STRESS

Chronic stress contributes to inflammation. Use meditation, yoga, biofeedback, guided imagery or some other method to manage stress throughout the day.

keisha.hill@gleanerjm.comSOURCE: Scripps Health; Harvard Health