Chronic inflammation is a type of inflammation that silently attacks the body causing disease and degeneration, and is also known as “silent inflammation”. As the connection between silent inflammation and a host of diseases becomes clearer, the case for dietary and lifestyle changes that can combat inflammation has become stronger. While it was always known that some conditions such as arthritis and acne were a result of acute inflammation in the body, there is mounting evidence that silent inflammation plays a role in heart disease, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and some cancers, as well as in the ageing process. Chronic inflammation can be present undetected in your body for years, until it manifests in disease.
Silent inflammation has been linked with the buildup of cholesterol deposits in the arteries which can lead to heart disease. In a similar way, the risk of Alzheimer’s disease increases with inflammation of brain tissue, as this results in the buildup of amyloid plaque deposits in the brain. Having type 2 diabetes, or eating sugary foods contributes to silent inflammation in the body as a result of elevated blood sugar and insulin levels. Recent studies have also confirmed the link between inflammation and several types of cancers. Making the necessary lifestyle changes to fight inflammation, can protect you from it’s devastating effects.
There are molecules in the body called prostaglandins which play an important role in inflammation. It has been found that of the three main types of prostaglandins, two of them (PG-E1 and PG-E3) have an anti-inflammatory effect, while the third type (PG-E2) actually promotes inflammation. When there is an imbalance in the body between these prostaglandins, inflammation can result. Prostaglandins are made in the body from essential fatty acids. You can assist your body in making anti-Inflammatory prostaglandins by eating vegetables, nuts, grains and seeds such as sesame and sunflower seeds. On the other hand, foods that cause a spike in insulin levels, such as sugary foods, or foods with a high Glycemic load promote production of PG-E2 and increase inflammation.
A typical anti-inflammatory diet focuses on fighting inflammation through the consumption of foods that lower insulin levels. To actively reduce inflammation, you should therefore eat foods that have a low Glycemic load, such as whole grains, vegetables and lentils, and consume healthy fats such as nuts, seeds, fish, extra virgin olive oil and fish. Spices such as turmeric, ginger, and hot peppers also reduce inflammation. At the same time, you also need to reduce consumption of foods that are pro-inflammatory, such as red meat, egg yolks and shellfish. Sugar is a key culprit in inflammation, and therefore you should also cut back on sugary foods. Inflammation can also be reduced by taking supplements such as fish oils which are high in Omega 3 fatty acids.
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