What you can do for an ounce of prevention

We can’t stop our bodies from responding to danger but we can take steps to keep it under control

Woman exercising on stairs

In a world awash with inflammatory triggers, and an explosion of chronic diseases linked to dietary and environmental factors, there are several concrete steps you can take to reduce risk.

Prevention is better than a cure.

You may not be able to change your genetic risk factors, but by avoiding the environmental signals that trigger inflammation such as poor diet and cigarette smoke, you can reduce the risk of developing inflammatory  diseases. 

While there will never be a silver bullet to protect us from the harmful effects of out-of-control inflammation, we now know enough about it to develop strategies to reduce the harmful effects of unhealthy inflammation.

Inflammation busters

Vegetables, bottle of water, measuring tape and exercise weight

Here are five things you can do to reduce your risk of developing diseases associated with chronic inflammation:

1. Improve your diet 

Make sure you are eating a balanced diet that includes omega-3-rich fish, whole grains and  fruits and vegetables in a range of colours, while avoiding foods that can make inflammation worse.

Fresh salmon on plate

2. Stop smoking

This may seem obvious, given that the harmful effects of smoking are well known, but it is important. Smoking tobacco is linked to increased inflammation throughout the body.

no smoking sign

3. Maintain a healthy weight

Obesity is an inflammatory trigger in its own right. Fat cells react with the immune system to increase inflammation.

scales combined with a dinner plate

4. Exercise

Regular exercise can help to reduce stress and inflammation, and also help with weight loss.

5kg exercise weight

5. Manage stress

While stress in an acute form can help us perform better under pressure, if it goes on too long it can be damaging. Chronic stress, depression and anxiety have all been associated with inflammation.

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