Body InflammationThe Link Between Aging and Inflammation

The Fire Within is Not Always Good

5 simple lifestyle changes to relieve inflammation

How would you respond if a physician asked, “Do you suffer from low-grade inflammation?” Your response may be, “Huh? I dunno. What are the signs?”

Achy joints, sore muscles, fatigue, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, weight gain, and fat accumulation are just a few indications that your body is feeling neglected and inflamed.

Two forms of inflammation exist – acute and chronic. While inflammation receives plenty of criticism, it isn’t all bad. Acute inflammation is needed as the body’s natural response to healing. It helps white blood cells and other chemicals repair tissue or wounds. Complications with inflammation occur when it becomes chronic. Prolonged inflammation can lead to the development of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other health ailments.

If that warning is not enough to get your attention, maybe this will:

Chronic inflammation is making you age faster.

It’s true… chronic inflammation (even low-grade) is one of the three leading causes of accelerated aging.  In other words, if you ignore inflammatory triggers, your biological age will rapidly outpace your chronological age…  meaning, you will be physically older than your years.  This is because inflammation contributes to the shortening of your telomeres.

How does chronic inflammation develop? Several different factors can produce unwanted inflammation in the body, including lack of exercise, nutrient deficiencies, a diet rich in refined foods, and poor lifestyle choices.

Lose extra pounds

Obesity is considered an inflammatory condition. Overweight individuals have higher levels of C-reactive protein, interleukin-6, leptin, and other inflammatory biomarkers that cause cardiovascular and diabetes risks.1,2 The accumulation of fat, or adipose tissue, is associated with low-grade inflammation.3 Furthermore, foods high in sugar, which influence weight gain, increase the glycemic load and C-reactive protein levels in the body to cause metabolic dysfunction and cardiovascular issues.4

Start moving now

When you are moving and exercising, your muscles release anti-inflammatory compounds into the blood to help modify the inflammatory response. Lack of exercise or movement can directly contribute to low-grade inflammation.5,6,7Reduce inflammation by moving your body on a daily basis. Most of our time is spent sitting, which decreases blood circulation and increases fatigue. You don’t need to climb a mountain or run a marathon, but moderate exercise – walking, swimming, biking, etc. – on a daily basis can help you feel great.

What are you eating?

Stop eating processed, refined foods. Saturated fat, sugar, trans fats, and preservatives found in the majority of pre-packaged and fast foods contribute to inflammation. A diet high in saturated and trans fats and low in antioxidants can damage blood vessel walls to cause an immune response related to inflammation and the development of cardiovascular ailments.8,9,10 Low-grade inflammation in older individuals has been shown to contribute to fat accumulation, insulin resistance, and inflammatory-related diseases.11

So, you’re saying I have to stop eating to get rid of inflammation? Nope. You can reduce inflammation with food. Just choose the foods that give your body fuel and promote healing.

Healthy fats, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables have anti-inflammatory properties that can lessen the development of inflammation. Choose a variety of whole grains (quinoa, brown rice, millet, etc.) Avoid wheat and gluten that can promote inflammation. Look for healthy fats in fish, nuts, flax and olive oil. Polyunsaturated fatty acids, like omega-3 fatty acids found in certain foods and fish oil supplements, lower pro-inflammatory markers and counteract the accumulation of omega-6 fatty acids found in most processed foods.12

Pack in antioxidants

Antioxidant-rich foods should be a main part of every meal. Fruits and vegetables are rich in phytonutrients that help reduce free radicals and prevent tissue damage that triggers an inflammatory response. Make sure you are eating more vegetables than fruit, and eat fruit separately from your regular meals. Spices, such as turmeric and ginger, are also high in antioxidants and can help reduce inflammation.

Goodbye pesky viral and bacterial infections

Another cause of low-grade inflammation is bacterial and viral infections. Chlamydia pneumonia, a bacterial type of pneumonia, can cause inflammation in the cardiovascular system.13 H. pylori that can be found in the GI tract is a common inflammatory-causing bacteria that leads to stomach ulcers.14 Getting rid of infections can lessen the load of inflammation on certain systems in the body. Zinc and vitamin D can help protect against pneumonia, while licorice root, zinc carnosine, probiotics, and cranberry’s can help heal the stomach and reduce the production of H. pylori.15,16,17,18,19,20


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20 Burger O, Weiss E, Sharon N, et al. Inhibition of Helicobacter pylori adhesion to human gastric mucus by a high-molecular-weight constituent of cranberry juice. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2002;42(3 Suppl):279-84.

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