Inflammation serves a valuable purpose in our bodies. When we sustain an injury, the brain sends a signal to the (injured) area in an attempt to heal itself. The problem comes when the inflammatory process hangs around longer than wanted or expected. This is when the real damage occurs because inflammation accelerates aging.
When inflammation becomes chronic, the body’s immune system becomes overworked. The weakened immune system and damaged cells lead to degenerative age-related conditions such as heart disease, gout, certain cancers, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s just to name a few. Inflammation, however, is not out of your control. Just like with any other unwelcome guest, your job is to make the stay uncomfortable enough to get them to leave. Many times people wait till problems occur before making changes.
Perhaps it is the smoker that decides to quit smoking when the diagnosis is cancer. Or the type 2 diabetic that decides to stick to a weight loss program for fear their life will be shortened because of it. Shifting from a reactive mentality to a proactive approach can aid in preventing and reversing the damaging effects to the immune system earlier in life. Moreover, as in many aging diseases, you can shift chronic inflammation through easy changes to your diet and behavior. Lifestyle changes such as not smoking, dietary changes promoting weight loss, and stress reduction techniques can slow the damage which leads to a longer, healthier life.
Your diet can also assist in reducing inflammation and thus slowing this aging process. Excess fat equals excess inflammation. Processed foods that contain sugar, refined carbohydrates, unhealthy trans fats, and saturated fats promote inflammation. A Mediterranean based diet can reduce inflammation due to its approach of eating healthy oils such as olive oil along with fish, fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains.
Consider adding these inflammation fighters to your dietary regimen for improved measures of health and decreased risks of age-related diseases. Ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, and garlic have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. These spices can be easily incorporated into many recipes for stews and sauces.
Oily fish such as salmon, trout, black cod, sardines, mackerel, herring, and anchovies contain omega-3 fatty acids which not only reduce inflammation but also decrease levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol.
Adding a colorful variety of vegetables and fruits to your diet can help fight inflammation because they are low in fat and calories and high in antioxidants.
Legumes such as lentils and chickpeas and seeds including chia and flax help to increase the healthy bacteria lining the stomach which helps to reduce inflammation.
Consume anti-inflammatory alternative grains such as quinoa, amaranth, millet, and barley as opposed to refined white flour, rice, and pasta. Whole grains have more fiber, which has been shown to reduce levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation in the blood.
Enjoying delicious anti-inflammatory foods while avoiding inflammatory ones, Inflammation Accelerates Aging, as well as avoiding lifestyle choices that leave us vulnerable to inflammation, not only slows the aging process it can help prevent chronic disease. That’s a win-win situation for everyone!