The human body is a miracle, considering the
hundreds and thousands of different processes being carried out all at once.
The immune system, the integral part of the human body, plays an enormous role
in survival, protecting the body from the attack of millions of infectious
agents and foreign substances. It is this defense mechanism that helps the body
to sustain and evolve, and helps it recover from disease.
Of the numerous different immune responses,
inflammation acts as a highly efficient one. You may think of it as the
tenderness that appears around a bruised knee or a burnt finger, but, in fact,
it is much more than that. Inflammation is known to play an enormous role in
defeating bacterial infections and destroying tumors. However, this life-saving
action of the body does have its own negative aspects. Too much inflammation
can cause harm to the body in more ways than one. Many researchers suggest that
inflammation is a suspected, often disguised component of many major diseases.
feel it, so why the fuss?
A tiny cut on your finger triggers a series of
events that help deal the body with the damage. The blood flow increases to
your finger, providing an abundance of WBC's (white blood cells) responsible
for protection against infectious agents. Other proteins arrive at the site of
injury to seal the area, preventing germs from spreading. The affected area
then becomes warmer than the rest of your body, as a reaction to prevent growth
of bacteria and to speed up recovery by increasing the metabolic rate of the
damaged tissue. This is known as short-term inflammation. This inflammation,
that overstays its welcome period is dangerous, and is causing quite a stir
among the scientists, given that it is much more complex than short-term
inflammation. It's not easy to detect chronic inflammation, it is heavily
dangerous. You may not 'feel' it, but chronic inflammation does leave behind
traces of its work, including a C-reactive protein, which shows up on a simple
CRP (C-reactive protein) molecules are measured
to diagnose or confirm the presence of inflammation. Researchers suggest that
patients with prolonged elevated levels of CRP in blood are at a risk of heart
disease, cancer and stroke. The CRP test is widely used as a marker for
inflammation and has been in use for more than 20 years. A study done in 2009
shows that people with high CRP levels, such as those having rheumatoid
arthritis and bloodstream infections, have a 30% greater risk of developing
some form of cancer later in life.
flossing is important:
You may have passed it away as another myth, but
now, studies have finally confirmed that dental health does have a role to play
in maintaining your cardiac health. Researchers at the University of Queensland
School of dentistry stress on the importance of oral care as a way to improve
heart function. Without proper oral care, the gums tend to get inflamed, thus
triggering the immune system to secrete proteins that travel to other parts of
the body, including the heart. A recent study even suggests that patients
having severe chronic periodonitis have an increased risk of developing
Is there a
Though cholesterol is held responsible for heart disease, studies show that
about half of all heart attack victims have normal cholesterol levels.
Cardiologists claim that inflammation may be responsible for this 'cholesterol
gap'. This fact, however, does not imply the safety of eating cholesterol-rich
foods. Cholesterol deposits, smoking and high blood pressure cause the
development of underlying plaque that thickens the arteries. What inflammation
does is, it adds to the prosperity of this plaque, making the condition more
severe than it would have normally been.
have found inflammation in parts of brain affected by Alzheimer's and other
forms of dementia. When affected by Alzheimer's, hard protein deposits get
accumulated, which can be really hard to get rid of. Consumption of
non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID's) can keep inflammation levels in
Studies show that
chronic infection, a cause of inflammation is associated with 15% of cancers.
Chronic irritation and inflammation, long-term exposure to silica, asbestos and
cigarette smoke can greatly increase your cancer risk.
Research has found that
inflammation is closely related to obesity and insulin resistance. Several
large studies covering over 50,000 subjects found that women having chronic
inflammation had a four-fold increase in their risk of type-2 diabetes.
researches from the Harvard Medical School suggest a link between inflammatory
diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, gout and lupus with the heart. People
having these diseases are twice likely to suffer from heart attack or cardiac
Having adequate levels of omega-3 fatty acids
can help reduce inflammation to a noticeable extent. Also, fish, flaxseeds and
walnuts are wonderful foods that control inflammation. Include more of these in
your diet. Munch on dry fruits when you have a mid-day hunger pang and be sure
to take supplements whenever you need.
Inflammation can be significantly reduced by the
three cornerstones of good health-eating well, exercising, and giving up
smoking. Simple lifestyle changes can make a great difference, especially in
the long run.
Pile up on
the fruits and veggies:
Fresh fruits and vegetables always do good for your body. Be
sure to stock up on them on your next trip to the supermarket. Load up the
greenies and choose from bright reds, yellows and greens. These colored fruits
and vegetables are packed full of carotenoids, a known anti-inflammatory. Also,
antioxidants found in fruits fight free radicals which play a major role in
causing inflammation. Bromelain, an enzyme found in pineapple is an amazing
anti-inflammatory agent. One to two servings of these foods a day will help you
combat your inflammation and keep away health issues that accompany it.
to the New England Journal of Medicine
trans fats literally ignite inflammation and gram for gram, increase the risk
of heart disease. Choosing saturated fats is a wiser option.
people are known to be less susceptible to a handful of illnesses due to their
generous use of spices in their dishes. Turmeric, a spice widely used in Indian
food preparations has good amount of a powerful anti-inflammatory agent called
Curcumin. Olive oil, black pepper and ginger are also good ingredients that
help reduce inflammation. Include more of these in your dishes.
diets are amazing at reducing inflammation due to their use of fresh vegetables
and olive oil.
of the best ways for heavy smokers to reduce inflammation is to quit smoking.
It makes a wonderful difference and cuts down inflammation levels almost
Inactivity and inflammation
are directly proportional. That's why it is important to have an active
lifestyle and be free from addictions. Make it a point to exercise at least
20-30 minutes a day, 6 times a week.
Obese people are more likely to suffer from cardiovascular
ailments and inflammatory disorders. Specialists at John Hopkins University
found out that people carrying extra weight had higher levels of inflammatory
proteins in their blood.