What is inflammageing?
Inflammation is the body’s natural reaction to a potential infection or disease. Inflammageing refers to an increase in inflammatory markers in our blood as we get older (1).
Low levels of inflammation are beneficial as it helps the body defend itself against infections and allows tissue repair to occur (1).
However, this can become dangerous when inflammation levels remain high for too long and it becomes chronic. Chronic inflammation can lead to a decrease in normal functioning as the body is continuously on alert to fight off diseases, wearing down normal tissues (1).
What happens when we get older?
As we age, our inflammation levels increase, impacting our mobility, increasing susceptibility of infection and developing chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, and mental health decline (1). This impact on our body makes it age faster.
What can we do to decrease inflammageing?
- Improve your microbiota:
- One way to decrease inflammation in the body is by looking after your gut microbiota (the bacteria within your digestive system). The more diversity of bacteria your gut contains means your gut has a better chance of fighting off potential infections. As we age, this diversity decreases, leaving our defences weakened and increasing the risk of chronic inflammation (2).
- You can assist your gut microbiota by increasing the amount of probiotic-rich foods in your diet, such as yoghurt, kombucha, pickles, traditional buttermilk, certain cheeses (such as cheddar, mozzarella and gouda) kefir, sauerkraut, tempeh, kimchi, miso and natto (3).
- Try an anti-inflammatory diet:
- Highly processed foods can increase inflammation levels in the body. Try shifting your diet away from these foods and towards whole foods meals involving fruit and vegetables. Along with this, improving your sleep pattern, keeping your teeth healthy and minimising stress levels (2).
- You can find some anti-inflammatory food recipes here https://www.taste.com.au/recipes/collections/anti-inflammatory-recipes
Inflammageing is inevitable, all you can do is try your best to decrease how much it affects your day to day life.
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(1) Calder, P. Et. Al. 2017. Health relvance of the modification of low grade inflammation in ageing (inflammageing) and the role of nutrition, Science Direct. 40: 95-119. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S156816371730003X
(2) Laurence, E. 2019. What you need to know about ‘inflamm-aging’- and 3 things you can do now to help prevent it, Well and Good. https://www.wellandgood.com/inflammation-aging/
(3) Palsdottir, H. 2018. 11 probiotic foods that are super healthy, Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-super-healthy-probiotic-foods#TOC_TITLE_HDR_1