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How Can I Help My Body Fight Inflammation?

Article Details
  • Written By: Cindy Quarters
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 20 April 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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Inflammation is the result of injury, illness, or stress, and your body reacts with swelling, pain, and the production of substances such as white blood cells and certain proteins. Visible inflammation, typically the type that results from an injury, can be reduced through basic measures such as the application of ice and by taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen. Internal inflammation is much harder to identify and treat, but can be a much more serious health hazard. The best way for you to fight inflammation is often to make changes to your diet and your lifestyle.

According to research by the American Cancer Institute, people with chronic inflammation are at higher risk than others for heart disease, stroke, and cancer. While there is no easy way for the average person to determine if the risk is present, there is a blood test that has been approved for people at high risk. This test measures the level of C-reactive protein (CRP) in the blood, a substance that the liver creates when it is inflamed. The CRP level is considered to be an indicator of the general level of inflammation in the body, and high levels correspond to a more serious problem.

Lifestyle changes can help your body to fight inflammation, and one of the most important changes you can make is to maintain a healthy body weight. Increased weight causes an increase in the number of fat cells in the body, and these cause the production of inflammatory proteins. Limiting weight helps to limit the number of fat cells, which results in much lower levels of such substances throughout the body.

Diet is also an important way you can fight inflammation. Diets that consists of mostly fruits and vegetables, as well as other plant foods such as beans and whole grains, promote lower CRP levels when followed consistently. When such a diet is accompanied by a high level of fish, particularly those containing substantial amounts of omega-3 oils, the CRP levels appear to be quite low. A Mediterranean diet, rich in plant-based foods as well as containing an abundance of fish, seems to offer an excellent way to help people to fight inflammation.

Other lifestyle changes you can make if you want to help your body to fight inflammation are to stop smoking if you do so, and to get plenty of exercise. It may also be important to take good care of your teeth, as chronic gum conditions such as gingivitis have been linked to more generalized inflammation. Preliminary studies reports by the American Cancer Institute seem to show that people who follow these principles minimize risks of inflammation and reduce cancer risk by as much as 40%.

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