How to reduce inflammation in the body: Start with your diet

Whether it’s fighting infections or speeding healing, your body needs some level of inflammation. But too much inflammation for too long can cause your immune system to attack your healthy organs. A 2019 study published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine found that chronic inflammation may be a leading cause of diabetes, heart disease and autoimmune diseases. So learn how to reduce inflammation in your body.

Inflammation is a natural response of the body’s immune system to protect itself from harmful stimuli such as infections, injuries and toxins, says Dr Pramod Kadam, Consultant – General Surgery, Ruby Hall Clinic, Pune. However, chronic or excessive inflammation can have harmful effects on the body.

Inflammation can weaken the immune system. Image courtesy: Freepik

1. Pain and discomfort

Inflammation often leads to pain, swelling and redness in the affected area. This is the body’s way of signaling that something is wrong and that you need to pay attention.

2. Decreased function

Inflamed tissues may not function properly in chronic inflammation. For example, inflamed joints can lead to reduced mobility and joint stiffness.

3. Tissue damage

Chronic inflammation can damage healthy tissues and organs over time. This damage can contribute to the development of various diseases and conditions, the expert says.

4. Chronic diseases

Long-term or systemic inflammation is associated with a range of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and autoimmune diseases.

5. Weakened immune response

In some cases, chronic inflammation can suppress the immune system’s ability to fight infections, making the person more susceptible to disease.

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6. Fatigue

Chronic inflammation is often accompanied by feelings of fatigue and malaise, says Dr. Kadam. This can affect overall quality of life and daily functioning.

What causes body inflammation?

Inflammation in the body can occur for various reasons. Here are some of the most common reasons you may experience inflammation:

1. Autoimmune diseases

Autoimmune diseases are conditions in which the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissues, leading to chronic inflammation. Many autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus, are more common in women.

2. Hormonal fluctuations

Hormonal changes throughout a woman’s life can influence inflammation. Menstrual cycles, pregnancy and menopause are times of significant hormonal fluctuations that can contribute to inflammation-related symptoms.

3. Chronic stress

Psychological stress can cause inflammation in the body. Women often face unique stressors related to work, family, and societal pressures, which can lead to chronic inflammation if not treated effectively.

4. Diet and nutrition

A poor diet high in processed foods, sugar and unhealthy fats can lead to chronic inflammation. That’s why eating healthy is the right choice.

5. Obesity

Obesity is associated with chronic low-grade inflammation throughout the body. Because women may be more prone to weight gain, especially during hormonal changes, obesity can be a major factor in inflammation-related health problems, the expert tells Health Shots.

Ways to reduce inflammation in the body

It is important to reduce inflammation in the body as this can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Here are some natural ways to control inflammation:

1. Anti-inflammatory diet

To reduce inflammation, eat more Omega-3 fatty acids, which can be found in foods such as oily fish (salmon, mackerel and sardines), flaxseed and walnuts. Your body will thank you for the anti-inflammatory diet.

Include omega-3 foods to reduce inflammation in the body. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

2. Eat foods rich in antioxidants

Fruits and vegetables such as berries, leafy greens and colorful produce that contain antioxidants that can fight inflammation. So go for a rainbow diet!

3. Limit processed foods

Processed foods that are high in refined sugars, unhealthy fats and additives can promote inflammation, so reduce or eliminate these from your diet.

4. Choose whole grains

Choose whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa and oats over refined grains such as white rice and white bread. So if you start your day with white bread, it’s time to look for an alternative.

5. Regular exercise

Be regular when it comes to physical activity, such as aerobics, strength training or yoga. Exercise helps reduce inflammation by regulating the immune system and improving overall health, expert says.

6. Stress management

Practice stress-reducing techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises and mindfulness. Chronic stress can contribute to inflammation, so managing it is very important.

7. Enough sleep

Don’t sleep too late and get up early. Try to get 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep every night. Poor sleep patterns and insufficient sleep can lead to inflammation.

8. Weight management

If you are overweight, try to reach and maintain a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise. If there is excess fatty tissue, it can produce substances that have an anti-inflammatory effect.

Reducing inflammation in the body may require a comprehensive approach, and each person’s response may vary. Some may need medications, others may need to make specific changes to their diet to effectively manage inflammation.

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