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.
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.
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.
3. Maintain a healthy weight
Obesity is an inflammatory trigger in its own right. Fat cells react with the immune system to increase inflammation.
Regular exercise can help to reduce stress and inflammation, and also help with weight loss.
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.