In Part I of this series I provided an overview of inflammation in the body. In Part II I covered some research on diseases related to inflammation. In this part, I’ll talk about the key to successful aging and what you can do to fight chronic inflammation.
Is inflammation inevitable?
From the research shared in Parts 1 and 2 of this article, the answer to the question, “Is inflammation inevitable?” seems to be “no,” at least in part. That is due to the fact that a diet low in processed food can decrease inflammation in your body.
A decline in immune function accompanies aging; however, according to an article in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, the immune cells of 80-year-olds produce significantly more pro-inflammatory signals, suggesting that chronic low-grade inflammation does appear to accompany the aging process.1
The good news is, this inflammatory response is something over which we have a measure of control. The authors of a 2007 article in Nutrition Reviews said, “The key to successful aging and longevity may be to decrease chronic inflammation without compromising an acute response when exposed to pathogens.”2
How do we decrease the inflammation? As mentioned in the previous parts of this series, diet. “Specifically, a diet high in minimally processed, high-fiber, plant-based foods such as vegetables and fruits, whole grains, legumes, and nuts will markedly blunt the post-meal increase in glucose, triglycerides, and inflammation,” at least for the primary and secondary prevention of coronary artery disease and diabetes as noted by the authors of this article.3
Claudio Franceshi, from the Italian Ministry of Health, noted in Nutrition Review, that, “nutrition is probably the most powerful and pliable tool that we have to attain a chronic and systemic modulation of aging process, towards an enhancement of health status of the elderly population.”2
In the first systematic review of the associations between biomarkers of inflammation and dietary patterns, those patterns associated with inflammation were almost all meat-based. At the same time, the vegetable and fruit-based or “healthy” patterns were associated with less inflammation.4
So while we won’t be able to beat death, the research suggests that we can at least go down fighting, and living as full and healthy a life as possible on the way.*
*If you want to learn more about how to do this, please sign up for the WholeBlue Eating course waiting list to be notified when the next class opens up.