Ways to Reduce Inflammation in the Body as We Age

We need inflammation at certain times to fight infection or heal wounds but if it is left unchecked, inflammation can lead to collateral damage and disease. Aging is associated with a number of changes in the immune defense system, known as ‘inflamm-aging’. This is more than just a marker of harmful processes going on, but if unfettered is a significant element of aging.

We need to address this on a daily basis via various means and have put together options so you minimize the inflammatory processes in your aging body.

Options to reduce inflammation

1. Exercise daily

Regular moderate physical activity/fitness is associated with lower levels of inflammatory markers:

  • Join a walking club
  • Try kayaking or go for a bike ride on the weekend
  • Walk to the shops instead of driving
  • Park as far as possible from where you need to go and walk the longer distance

2. Don’t overeat

  • Read the packet and substitute foods that are less energy-dense, low in fat and rich in water or insoluble fiber
  • Pay attention to the cues that make you overeat, and reduce your opportunities to lose control
  • Eat 80% of what you would normally eat. For every four spoonfuls of what we would eat, eat three and leave one behind
  • Avoid eating relating to boredom. If you are bored, don’t head to the fridge but go for a walk instead
  • Avoid snacking when stressed – instead, go for a walk or find another diversion apart from food
  • Avoid overeating at work by eating a piece of fruit or a boiled egg before you go
  • Slow down your eating so you don’t eat as much. Also sip water between bites and chew thoroughly before swallowing
  • Don’t eat when watching TV – you’ll tend to overeat if you have enough food on your plate. Alternatively only take a small snack to eat when watching TV

3. Stop smoking

  • Think about giving up and then put together a plan of attack
  • Think about the negative effects of smoking – impact on others, yellowing of your teeth and fingers, risk of cancer, high blood pressure, bad breath, gum disease, depression, snoring, early morning cough and diabetes to name a few
  • See your GP for options to help give up
  • Call Quitline on 131 848 for assistance

4. Substitute fresh and low fat alternatives for pro-inflammatory foods

  • Avoid saturated and trans fatsfound in fast food and junk food, snack foods, high fat animal protein, margarine and dairy spreads, dairy deserts, biscuits and pastries
  • Eat grass fed beef and other animal foodsUnlike grain-fed livestock, meat that comes from animals fed grass, also contains anti-inflammatory omega 3s
  • Avoid simple sugars –minimize lollies, cakes, pastries, sweet biscuits, ice-cream and soft drinks
  • Include olive oil in your dietas a great source of oleic acid, an anti-inflammatory oil. Buy extra-virgin olive oil, which has the least amount of processing and use it instead of other cooking oils

5. Eat foods that are naturally high in antioxidants

  • Berries are packed with anti-inflammatory phytonutrients. Choose from blueberries, blackberries, mulberries, raspberries, cherries, boysenberries, unsweetened cranberries and strawberries
  • Choose color on your plate with rainbow fruit and vegetables
  • Add Turmeric for spice and less inflammation (¼ teaspoon at least 3 times a week)
  • Increase your intake of cruciferous vegetables. These include cauliflower and broccoli. Brussels sprouts are also loaded with antioxidants. They offer a double whammy in that they provide another important ingredient — sulfur — that the body needs to make its own high-powered antioxidants, such as one called glutathione
  • Chose low GI whole grain alternatives that are high in antioxidants and fiber
  • Increase your intake of fresh ginger. Brew your own ginger tea – use a peeler to remove the skin, then add several thin slices to a cup of hot water and let steep for a few minutes
  • Eat garlic every day. Put in salads, soups, steam with veggies, mashed sweet potato
  • Substitute green tea for other beverages. Make up a thermos and it will last for the day

6. Increase your intake of omega 3 fats

  • The suggested dietary targets are 610mg for men and 430mg for women:
  • Include deep sea fish as a source of protein
  • Consider a fish oil supplement
  • Increase your intake from vegetarian sources such as flaxseeds (20g contains 4,500mg), nuts, especially walnuts(20g contains 1,800mg), hazelnuts (100g contains 87mg) and brazil nuts, soybeans (100g tofu contains 181mg) and green veggies (50g raw spinach contains 70mg)
  • Manage your stress

  • Plan your activities. Identify at work the what, why, how, when and who will do the jobs at hand. Schedule your obligations and your actions both long-term (weeks or months before) and on a daily basis
  • Organize your time efficiently on a daily basis. Write a to-do list and then prioritize the top 5 things you absolutely have to do that day
  • Try to be flexible in your planning
  • Take regular breaks and break a few minutes in the middle of the day. Relax, and do nothing for a few minutes and do some deep breathing exercises
  • Have a massage at least once a fortnight. Massage is excellent for relaxation and the alleviation of tension. It will improve the quality of your sleep, so contributing to less fatigue during the day
  • Take up a hobby. The best hobbies include social activity as these will take your mind off any issues you have on your mind
  • Give some time to a charitable organization

7. Get quality sleep

8. Go to the doctor

  • Have your hormones checked
  • Check your inflammation markers, such as hsCRP and fibrinogen, and then do the actions listed above to bring them down.

Last Reviewed 11/Mar/2014


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Whilst wielding a couple of dumbbells in a gym class in 2003, Kate experienced an epiphany around the lack of accepted best practice guidelines when it came to staying well and avoiding disease. Kate realized that she had no chance of slowing her own aging process unless she became better educated about her options.

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