Inflammation is a vital part of the immune system's response to injury and infection. It is the body's way of signaling the immune system to heal and repair damaged tissue, as well as defend itself against foreign invaders, such as viruses and bacteria.
Without inflammation as a physiological response, wounds would fester, and infections could become deadly.
However, if the inflammatory process goes on for too long or if the inflammatory response occurs in places where it is not needed, it can become problematic.
Chronic inflammation has been linked to certain diseases such as heart disease or stroke, and may also lead to autoimmune disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. But a healthy diet and lifestyle can help keep inflammation under control.
Simple tips to fight inflammation
* Make healthy food choices
* Our diets play an important role in chronic inflammation because our digestive bacteria release chemicals that may spur or suppress inflammation. The types of bacteria that populate our gut and their chemical byproducts vary according to the foods we eat.
* Some foods encourage the growth of populations of bacteria that stimulate inflammation, while others promote the growth of bacteria that suppress it.
Fortunately, you are probably already enjoying many of the foods and beverages that have been linked to reductions in inflammation and chronic disease. As long as you are not allergic to any of these foods or beverages, they include the following:
• Fruits and vegetables. Most fruits and brightly colored vegetables naturally contain high levels of antioxidants and polyphenols — potentially protective compounds found in plants.
• Nuts and seeds. Studies have found that consuming nuts and seeds is associated with reduced markers of inflammation and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
• Beverages. The polyphenols in coffee and the flavonols in cocoa are thought to have anti-inflammatory properties. Green tea is also rich in both polyphenols and antioxidants.