Is your body experiencing low-grade inflammation? Achy joints, sore muscles, fatigue, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, weight gain, and fat accumulation are a few examples of low-grade inflammation. These indications can lead to prolonged health issues as you age.
Chronic inflammation leads to rapid aging
Chronic inflammation is one of the three leading causes of accelerated aging. When inflammatory markers are ignored, your biological age will rapidly outpace your chronological age. This means your body will feel older than your actual age.
While inflammation is needed in the body to support healing, white blood cell production, repair tissue and wounds, prolonged low-grade inflammation accelerates the aging process. It can lead to the development of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other health complications.
Fortunately, chronic low-grade inflammation can be reduced through lifestyle upgrades.
Dance away inflammation
When you are moving and exercising, your muscles release anti-inflammatory compounds to help modify the inflammatory response. Lack of exercise or movement can directly contribute to low-grade inflammation.(5,6,7) Moving your body on a daily basis can lessen inflammation and improve circulation. You don’t need to climb a mountain or run a marathon, but moderate exercise on a daily basis, like dancing, walking, swimming, and biking, can all have a positive impact on decreasing inflammation.
Avoid carrying extra weight
It is well-known that obesity is an inflammatory condition. Overweight individuals have higher levels of C-reactive protein, interleukin-6, leptin, and other inflammatory biomarkers that cause cardiovascular and diabetes risks.(1,2) The accumulation of fat is connected with low-grade inflammation.(3) Foods high in sugar not only increase weight gain, but increase the glycemic load and C-reactive protein levels in the body to cause metabolic dysfunction and cardiovascular issues.(4)
Think twice about food choices
This is a tough one. Who doesn’t love chocolate glazed-donuts for breakfast or french fries with your hamburger? Making healthy food choices can be difficult at first, but it is imperative to reducing inflammation and slowing the aging process. It is best to stop eating processed, refined foods, because saturated fat, sugar, trans fats, and preservatives are found in the majority of pre-packaged foods. These all have a major contribution to accelerated aging.
A diet high in saturated and trans fats, while low in antioxidants can damage blood vessels causing an inflammatory response that leads to cardiovascular issues.(8,9,10) Low-grade inflammation has been shown to contribute to fat accumulation, insulin resistance, and inflammatory-related diseases.(11)
Choose foods that give your body fuel and promote healing. Healthy fats, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables have anti-inflammatory properties. Avoid wheat and gluten which promote inflammation. When possible, choose free-range meats and wild caught fish over conventional meats and farm raised fish. You can also add in polyunsaturated fats, like omega-3 fatty acids. These fats lower pro-inflammatory markers and counteract the accumulation of omega-6 fatty acids found in most processed foods.(12)
Pack in antioxidants
Antioxidant-rich foods should be a main part of every meal. Fruits and vegetables are rich in phytonutrients that help reduce free radicals and prevent tissue damage that triggers an inflammatory response. Though, make sure you pack in more vegetables, instead of overloading on fruit. Spices, such as turmeric and ginger, are also high in antioxidants and can help reduce inflammation.
Goodbye pesky viral and bacterial infections
Another cause of low-grade inflammation is bacterial and viral infections. Chlamydia pneumonia, a bacterial type of pneumonia, can cause inflammation in the cardiovascular system.(13) H. pylori that can be found in the GI tract is a common inflammatory-causing bacteria that leads to stomach ulcers.(14) Getting rid of infections can lessen the load of inflammation on certain systems in the body. Zinc and vitamin D can help protect against infections, while licorice root, zinc carnosine, probiotics, and cranberry’s can help heal the stomach and reduce the production of H. pylori.(15,16,17,18,19,20)