While inflammation is a normal part of the healing process in the body, consistent or chronic inflammation is not. Chronic inflammation actually causes long-term damage to the body over a long period of time. It has been found to be part of the underlying cause of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, many types of cancer, and several of the chronic conditions that impact the health of Americans and people all around the world.
One of the methods used to gauge systemic inflammation or inflammation in the body is using a blood test called a C-reactive protein (CRP) test. This test measures the amount of c-reactive proteins created during the inflammation process in the body. The higher the amounts of c-reactive proteins found the more inflammation is occurring in the body. While it is a measurement of general inflammation, CRP has been found to be a predictive measure of heart diseases in particular. There is an even more specialized test called high sensitivity c-reactive protein (hs-CRP) that can also be measured and has been considered more predictive for diabetes and high blood pressure than a person’s body mass index (BMI).
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In a review of the literature called Diet and Inflammation published in the Journal of Nutrition in Clinical Practice in December of 2010 looked at the role of nutrition in ceasing or reversing inflammation in the body. The conclusions of the study suggested that what a person ate, their dietary patterns, did influence the amount of inflammation found in the body. Lower levels of inflammation were found in dietary patterns that included consumption of magnesium, fiber, flavonoids, and carotenoids, omega-3 fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids and monounsaturated fatty acids. The Mediterranean diet would be a good example of a diet that includes all of these nutrient combinations.
I see this as an important study because eating is one activity that everyone participates in daily. Understanding the role of how foods can have an impact on chronic disease can change the health of millions of people.
Learning to choose healthy eating behaviors can reduce the risk of certain chronic diseases -- so eat good healthy whole foods whenever possible.