Clinical studies continue to link chronic, low-grade inflammation—also known as silent inflammation—with a growing number of health conditions and diseases. Because it can be present without being felt, this type of inflammation is particularly dangerous and can be harmful to the body over time.
Recently, a team of scientists from Texas A&M University found a link between our internal “body clocks” and the inflammatory response tied to metabolic disorders such as obesity and diabetes. It has to do with immune cells called macrophages, which control inflammatory response. Study results involving mice showed that a high-fat diet and irregular sleep disrupts the natural rhythms of our cells and tissues, which in turn triggers inflammation, fat accumulation, and ultimately insulin resistance—creating a vicious cycle.
“To promote human health, we need not only to eat healthy foods, but also more importantly to keep a healthy lifestyle, which includes avoiding sleeping late and eating at night,” said Dr. David Earnest, Texas A&M professor and one of the study’s lead authors. Here are four simple ways you can change your diet to help reduce the risk of inflammation and metabolic disorders:
- Partner with Probiotics: In clinical studies, daily supplementation with a high-potency probiotic has been shown to support the healthy function of white blood cells and help reduce the risk of inflammation-associated metabolic disorders.‡
- Add More Omega-3s: The Omega-3s that come from fish oil—specifically EPA and DHA—are particularly good at helping to prevent silent inflammation, in part by helping to balance out the inflammatory effects of the Omega-6 fats found in high amounts in the Standard American Diet (SAD).‡
- Don’t Forget the Fiber: If you aren’t eating enough fiber, the good bacteria in your gut may not be able to produce enough protective short-chain fatty acids.‡ This can lead to inflammation as the immune system responds inappropriately to healthy gut microbes and treats them as harmful bacteria. Aim for at least 35 grams of fiber daily.
- Load up on Antioxidants: Antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables target free radicals in the body, which can damage cells and tissues and trigger inflammation. Opt for low-sugar fruits such as blueberries, raspberries, pomegranates, plums and cherries, along with non-starchy veggies such as kale, spinach, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. Olive oil, raw nuts and nut butters are also a good source of antioxidants.