by Marc McCallister

Experts in the field of biology have determined that a universal condition, which all mammals suffer from, has been linked to many diseases and health conditions associated with aging: chronic inflammation. Health conditions known to be linked to chronic inflammation include heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The goal of this article is to provide you with information that can help you minimize the potency of chronic inflammation in your daily life.

Diet and lifestyle choices play a major role in combating chronic inflammation. Not surprisingly, unhealthy, processed foods are known to increase inflammation, while plant-based diets can actually help to fight inflammation. Simply put, the less processed the diet the better.

Fruits and Vegetables are a primary source of nutrients that are needed to form the foundation of a healthy diet. Many fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants that break down inflammatory substances within the body. It has been shown that some plant compounds like carotenoids can help keep oxidants in check. Additionally, fiber from produce is consumed by bacteria in the gut, which results in the production of anti-inflammatory substances.

Seafood and Omega-3s also play a major role in having a healthy diet. Foods that are high in Omega-3s not only prevent the formation of inflammatory compounds, but they also help to destroy them. The American Heart Association actually recommends at least two servings of fish per week.

Herbs, Spices and Olive Oil provide an easy and unobtrusive way to boost antioxidants in a meal or snack. Herbs and spices such as rosemary, thyme, basil, oregano and turmeric are thought to be protective against inflammation. Similarly, olive oil has been a staple of healthy Mediterranean diets for centuries and its anti-inflammatory phenolic compounds appear to provide significant health benefits.

Nuts and Seeds can serve as a healthy snack loaded with healthy fats and lots of antioxidants. Nuts and seeds have also been shown to reduce LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. Multiple studies have shown that people who tend to eat nuts on a daily basis have lower BMIs and have better heart health.

Foods that are known to increase inflammation and contribute to poor health include: sugary beverages, refined carbohydrates, processed snack foods, alcohol
and desserts. As with anything, moderation is an important component of maintaining a balanced diet should you decide to indulge yourself.

In addition to diet and food choices, low-grade chronic inflammation can also be addressed by establishing regular sleep habits, maintaining good dental health and participation in regular exercise or other stress-reducing activities. As mammals, it is inevitable that we will experience inflammation as a consequence of aging. However, simple mindful choices can go a long way to minimize and reverse its impact on the body’s different systems.