Chronic, low-level inflammation might be the SILENT culprit behind your aging process. There is growing evidence that there’s a correlation between chronic systemic inflammation and chronic disease, such as:
- Coronary atherosclerosis (plaque buildup)
- Type 2 diabetes
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Macular degeneration (a common form of age-related blindness)
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Some cancers
The Silent Killer
Chronic, low-level inflammation is quite different from acute inflammation, the body’s healthy response to injury and infection. When you get a bug bite or sprained ankle and the area becomes swollen, warm, painful, and red, your body is trying to defend itself by sending immune cells and key nutrients to the area — this is an acute inflammatory response.
Chronic inflammation is imperceptible and dangerous. Studies have shown a correlation between heart disease and elevated levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a protein in your blood that signals inflammation. According to the Cleveland Clinic, measuring CRP is at least as predictive as cholesterol in assessing cardiac risk. Following an anti-inflammatory diet consists of a high fiber intake which has been shown to lower CRP levels.
Researchers have identified certain foods that can cause as well as combat inflammation. Many of the anti-inflammatory foods are found in the so-called Mediterranean diet that focuses on fresh, whole, unprocessed food.