We are finding out more about how inflammation plays a
significant role in the development of chronic diseases such as
Inflammation is part of the complex biological response of body
tissues to harmful stimuli, such as pathogens, damaged cells, or
irritants, and is a protective response involving immune cells,
blood vessels, and molecular mediators.
The function of inflammation is to eliminate the initial cause
of cell injury, clear out necrotic cells and tissues damaged from
the original insult and the inflammatory process, and initiate
The awareness of the intersection between inflammation and
chronic disease has spawned a plethora of diet plans, nutritional
supplements, and lifestyle programs, many implying they offer new
ways to improve your health by quelling inflammation.
While it is true that scientists are uncovering new complexities
and expanding their knowledge of factors that may contribute to
inflammation or help counter it, there's nothing new about
Likewise, much of the heavily hyped guidance for an
anti-inflammation lifestyle boils down to the same no-nonsense
health advice your grandmother might have given you.
Our diets play an important role in chronic inflammation because
our digestive bacteria release chemicals that may spur or suppress
The types of bacteria that populate our gut and their chemical
byproducts vary according to the foods we eat. Some foods encourage
the growth of populations of bacteria that stimulate inflammation,
while others promote the growth of bacteria that suppress it.
Fortunately, you are probably already enjoying many of the foods
and drinks that have been linked to reductions in inflammation.
They include the following:
- Fruits and vegetables. Most fruits and brightly
coloured vegetables naturally contain high levels of antioxidants
and polyphenols, potentially protective compounds found in
- Nuts and seeds. Studies have found that consuming nuts
and seeds is associated with reduced markers of inflammation and a
lower risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
- Beverages. The polyphenols in coffee and the flavonols
in cocoa are thought to have anti-inflammatory properties. Green
tea is also rich in both polyphenols and antioxidants.