Inflammation is the body’s response to an injury, allergy, or infection, causing redness, warmth, swelling, pain, and limitation of function. There is more than one type of inflammation: (1) Acute Inflammation is a reaction that attempts to restore the health of the affected area; (2) Chronic Inflammation type of inflammation is often linked with chronic disease, such as excess weight, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stress, autoimmune disease, cancer, etc. The cells involved with both types of inflammation are part of the body’s immune system which defends the body from attacks of all kinds. Depending on the duration, location, and cause of trouble, a variety of immune cells, such as neutrophils, lymphocytes, and macrophages, rush in to create inflammation. There’s no quick or simple fix for unhealthy inflammation. To reduce it, we need to detect, prevent, and treat its underlying causes.
One of the most powerful tools to combat inflammation comes not from the pharmacy, but from the grocery store. “Many experimental studies have shown that components of foods or beverages may have anti-inflammatory effects,” says Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. To reduce levels of inflammation, aim for an overall healthy diet. In addition to lowering inflammation, a more natural, less processed diet can have noticeable effects on your physical and emotional health.
Some anti-inflammatory foods include; berries, broccoli, avocado, fatty fish, green tea, turmeric, mushrooms, tomatoes, etc. Although there are a number of well-established tests to detect inflammation that are commonly used in medical care, it is important to note these tests cannot distinguish the difference between acute inflammation, which might develop with a cold, pneumonia, or an injury, and the more damaging chronic inflammation that may accompany diabetes, obesity, or an autoimmune disease, among other conditions. Testing for inflammation has its place in medical evaluation and in monitoring certain health conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis. But it is not clearly helpful as a routine test for everyone. A better approach is to adopt healthy habits and get routine medical care that can identify and treat the conditions that contribute to harmful inflammation.