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Lifestyle tips to reduce chronic inflammation

11/5/2014, 9:13 a.m.
Millions of Americans endure the pain of chronic inflammation, and even when pain is not apparent, millions more run the ...
Millions of Americans endure the pain of chronic inflammation, and even when pain is not apparent, millions more run the risk of serious diseases triggered by chronic inflammation. (Photo: BlueSkyImage - Shutterstock)

Millions of Americans endure the pain of chronic inflammation, and even when pain is not apparent, millions more run the risk of serious diseases triggered by chronic inflammation.

“Almost all chronic diseases -- from arthritis to heart disease to diabetes to Alzheimer’s disease -- have one thing in common: destructive, unchecked inflammation,” says Dr. Michael A. Smith, host of “Healthy Talk” on RadioMD.com and senior health scientist with Life Extension in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. “Certain lifestyle measures and the use of particular supplements, however, can help manage and reduce chronic inflammation.”

According to Smith, here’s what everyone should know:

Testing

An annual blood test for C-reactive protein can detect potentially high levels of systemic inflammation that may be boosting your risk of a host of age-related diseases. If your C-reactive protein level is over 1.0 milligrams per liter (1.0 mg/L), this likely indicates you have inflammatory activity occurring in your body and may be at increased risk for any number of serious medical conditions -- the higher this number the greater the risk.

Natural Extracts

Mainstream medicine offers drugs that typically target a single aspect of acute inflammatory pain, and aren’t typically suitable for long-term use due to substantial side effects. Scientists, however, have identified three compounds -- curcumin, ginger, and turmeric oil -- that inhibit multiple underlying factors behind inflammation, safely reducing both chronic pain and long-term disease risk.

“Numerous studies have confirmed that by targeting inflammatory origins, these natural extracts reduce the symptoms, risk profiles, and mediating factors of arthritis, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other diseases. And some of these effects are observable in a matter of weeks,” says Smith.

While you can find these compounds in certain foods, scientists have discovered a novel way to deliver almost seven times as much of these three extracts to your bloodstream through supplementation.

Healthy Habits

Even light physical activity has proven benefits to reducing inflammation, according to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Incorporate exercise into your routine, even if that just means a daily walk. And inflammation is one more reason to quit a cigarette habit or avoid secondhand exposure, as it can be a response to smoking, according to Harvard Medical School’s Family Health Guide.

Certain foods can promote inflammation. Shy away from too many highly processed foods such as white breads and pasta, and foods high in saturated fat, sugar and trans fat. You don’t need to sacrifice flavor, however, by loading up on herbs and spices. They are not only a low-calorie way to flavor your food; certain varieties even have anti-inflammatory properties.

More information about reducing your risk for chronic inflammation can be found at www.lef.org/curcumin or call the toll-free number, 1-855-820-9479.

To dramatically minimize cellular aging and risk for lethal age-related diseases, many doctors and medical experts urge taking action now to reduce chronic inflammation.