As people age, they find that the number of aches and pains that they experience increases dramatically. Someone you know or even you yourself may have exclaimed at some point, “My knees aren’t what they used to be!” You might have dismissed this, thinking it is just a one-off pain or that it may have been caused by poor posture while sleeping the previous night. However, if you notice that the pain does not go away or keeps coming back, it may be cause for concern. You might have inflammation or arthritis. This article will show you can decrease inflammation and what causes it in the first place.
What is Inflammation?
As the name suggests, inflammation occurs when an area of the body is inflamed or swollen. This usually occurs when the immune system is activated and this, in turn, is caused when the body detects a foreign threat in the form of invading bacteria. So, inflammation is a way of protecting your body but too much of it can lead to chronic inflammation. This is when the inflammatory cells in the body don’t deactivate. Chronic inflammation can be a symptom of a condition like arthritis and if it isn’t treated properly, it can lead to health conditions like heart disease and diabetes.
Symptoms of Inflammation
Inflammation is usually either acute or chronic. The former is short-term wherein the affected area hurts when touched. You may also see redness and swelling due to the increased blood supply to the area. Some may experience difficulty in moving the body part. Chronic inflammation is usually longer-term and may occur when a person is hypersensitive to an external stimulus e.g., an allergen. Sometimes, persistent low-level exposure to a certain chemical might cause chronic inflammation. Your chances of experiencing the latter increase with age and stress levels.
Diet Can Reduce Inflammation
Your diet can play a big role in the inflammation that your body experiences. The Mediterranean diet, for example, has been touted as an anti-inflammatory. It contains nutritious food such as almonds, walnuts, green leafy vegetables, tomatoes and olive oil. Conversely, certain foods can prolong or make you even more susceptible to inflammation. These foods include fried food, highly processed food and those rich in sugar and saturated fats. Do note that diet alone cannot treat inflammation but studies have shown that a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods can alleviate the side effects e.g., memory loss and drowsiness, that medications can cause.
The benefits of exercise can’t be overstated. They help you stay physically and mentally fit while reducing your stress levels. You may recall that stress levels may increase your risk of getting inflammation. Obesity is also a risk factor and certain kinds of obesity can be prevented with the right type of fitness regimen. Exercising can help you maintain the right body weight so it is important to find a routine that works for you. Something challenging right off the bat might demotivate you while something too easy may not be as beneficial.