Whether it is to fight infection or to speed up healing, your body needs some degree of inflammation. But too much of inflammation for too long can make your immune system attack your healthy organs. A 2019 study published in the US National Library of Medicine showed that chronic inflammation can be a major cause of diabetes, heart disease and autoimmune disorders. So, learn how to reduce inflammation in your body.
Inflammation is a natural response by the body’s immune system to protect against 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 detrimental effects on the body.
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 you need to pay attention.
2. Impaired function
Inflamed tissues may not function properly in case of chronic inflammation. For example, inflamed joints can lead to reduced mobility and joint stiffness.
3. Tissue damage
In case of chronic inflammation, healthy tissues and organs can get damaged over time. This damage can contribute to the development of various diseases and conditions, says the expert.
4. Chronic diseases
Prolonged or systemic inflammation is associated with a range of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and autoimmune disorders.
5. Weakened immune response
In some cases, chronic inflammation can suppress the immune system’s ability to fight off infections, making the person more susceptible to illnesses.
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Chronic inflammation is often associated with 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 due to various reasons. Here are some of the common reasons why you may experience inflammation:
1. Autoimmune disorders
Autoimmune disorders are conditions in which the immune system attacks healthy tissues by mistake, leading to chronic inflammation. Many autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus are more prevalent in women.
2. Hormonal fluctuations
Hormonal changes throughout a woman’s life can influence inflammation. Menstrual cycles, pregnancy and menopause are periods of significant hormonal fluctuations that can contribute to inflammation-related symptoms.
3. Chronic stress
Psychological stress can trigger inflammation in the body. Women often face unique stressors related to work, family, and societal pressures, which can lead to chronic inflammation if not managed effectively.
4. Diet and nutrition
A poor diet high in processed foods, sugar and unhealthy fats can lead to chronic inflammation. That’s why healthy eating is the way to go.
Obesity is associated with chronic low-grade inflammation throughout the body. Since women can be more prone to weight gain, especially during hormonal changes, obesity can be a significant factor in inflammation-related health issues, the expert tells Health Shots.
Ways to reduce inflammation in the body
It is important to reduce inflammation in the body as it may help to mitigate the risk of chronic diseases. Here are some natural ways to manage inflammation:
1. Anti-inflammatory diet
To reduce inflammation, increase eating Omega-3 fatty acids, which can be found in foods such as fatty fish (salmon, mackerel and sardines), flaxseeds, and walnuts. Your body will thank you for the anti-inflammatory diet.
2. Eat antioxidant-rich foods
Fruits and vegetables like berries, leafy greens, and colourful produce containing antioxidants that can combat 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 them 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 are starting 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 aerobic exercise, strength training or yoga. Exercise helps to reduce inflammation by regulating the immune system and improving overall health, says the expert.
6. Stress management
Practice stress-reduction techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises and mindfulness. Chronic stress can contribute to inflammation, so managing it is very important.
7. Adequate sleep
Don’t sleep 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 achieve and maintain a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise. If there is excess fat tissue, it can produce substances that are inflammatory.
Reducing inflammation in the body may require a comprehensive approach, and every person’s response can vary. Some might need medication, others might have to make specific dietary changes to manage inflammation effectively.