Chronic inflammation may be the cause of many of our dreaded diseases. The four horsemen of the medical apocalypse — coronary disease, diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimer’s — may be riding the same steed: inflammation, say experts.
Inflammation also drives the aging process faster than any other biomarker, notes Dr. Tasneem Bhatia, author of “The 21-Day Belly Fix.”
“As we get older inflammation increases, in part because our bodies are less adept at digesting and processing the nutrients we need to regulate it,” Bhatia says.
Here are some common diseases caused by raging inflammation and how you can help protect yourself:
- Alzheimer’s. Inflammation can be seen in the brain of people prone to Alzheimer’s disease as much as 20 years before the onset of the disease. Protect your brain with healthy fatty foods like salmon, which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, advises leading nutritionist Tara Gidus Collingwood, R.D., team dietitian for the NBA’s Orlando Magic. Take fat soluble vitamins such as A, C, E and K.
- Cancer. Insufficient vitamin D has been associated with many diseases, including cancer, but research shows that taking this vitamin along with losing weight reduces the risk of inflammation dramatically in women with breast cancer.
- Arthritis. An inflammation of the joints, arthritis can be aggravated by several factors including diet. Tart cherry juice, which is also loaded with anti-oxidants, has been shown to reduce blood levels of gout-causing uric acid. A 2012 study showed that drinking tart cherry juice twice daily for 21 days reduced the pain felt by people with osteoarthritis.
- Heart Disease. Eat more nuts. According to research, people who consume five or more servings of nuts per week have lower levels of certain inflammation markers. According to Healthline, the best choices to reduce your risk of heart disease are almonds, pistachios, walnuts, cashews, Brazil nuts, and hazelnuts.
- Asthma. Alcohol can worsen asthma symptoms by increasing inflammation. Wine, which contains sulfates, is most likely to trigger an attack. Switching from vino to a cocktail may do the trick.
- Irritable bowel syndrome and bloating. Avoid processed foods because they contain emulsifiers such as lecithin, mono- and diglycerides, polysorbates, or various additives that include the word “esters.” A recent study showed these compounds change gut flora, causing inflammation that leads to colitis. Collingwood tells Newsmax that drinking kefir, a fermented milk, may help increase “healthy gut bacteria” to restore balance.