Chronic inflammation is a complex system of several metabolic processes that may result in different conditions, like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, as well as neurodegenerative and autoimmune diseases.
Many chronic inflammatory diseases are, in fact, either propelled by or caused by improper dietary habits.
In a recent study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, a team of researchers discuss how lifestyle and dietary habits play a role in low-grade chronic inflammation and how changing them is of immense help.
When it comes to how the body reacts to certain outside stimuli, genetics are an invariable factor.
However, lifestyle and nutrition are in constant interaction with genetics, and can often be the predominant factors in the occurrence of chronic inflammation, as well its intensity.
Why Does it Matter
Scientists agree that the Western dietary patterns are characterized by a high intake of processed foods high in additives, fats, and sugars, and a very low intake of fruits, vegetables, and fibers.
And these patterns often result in different metabolic diseases, constant low-grade inflammation, and a general feeling of low energy.
On the other hand, populations that consume less processed foods and more foods that are rich in fiber, vitamins, and healthy fats, are proven to have the lowest numbers of inflammatory diseases, compared to the Western populations.
For example, the Mediterranean diet, which mostly focuses on fruits, green veggies, olive oil, fish, and legumes, has been proven to be very effective for cardiovascular diseases.
Another thing of note is that imbalanced diet also badly affects the gut flora, which is very tightly connected to the regulation of the immune system.
What Can Be Done?
In addition to lifestyle changes, like doing regular workouts, reducing or quitting smoking and alcohol intake, eating healthier, etc, this study singles out two important strategies related to diet.
Increased Fiber Intake
According to the study, fiber is one of the most crucial elements in reducing chronic inflammation.
Fiber is really important because it helps increase the number of good bacteria in the gut.
Good bacteria, in turn, limit the access of pathogens in the gut and help in the maintenance of the gut barrier.
Antioxidant Effects of Fasting
Fasting is an ancient practice, and many studies have been conducted to examine its effects on human health.
Intermittent fasting, in particular, is considered to exhibit anti-inflammatory effects on the body and reduce inflammatory markers.
Of course, extended periods of fasting are not recommended, especially not without medical guidance, but moderate fasting is definitely beneficial.
The Bottom Line
Basically, all the processes in the body are connected in one way or the other, and that’s why having a healthy diet is so impactful for not only chronic inflammation but also for the overall health and feeling of well-being.
Resource: Margină, D.; Ungurianu, A.; Purdel, C.; Tsoukalas, D.; Sarandi, E.; Thanasoula, M.; Tekos, F.; Mesnage, R.; Kouretas, D.; Tsatsakis, A. Chronic Inflammation in the Context of Everyday Life: Dietary Changes as Mitigating Factors. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 4135. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17114135