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Inflammation - what is it and what can you do to tackle it?

Inflammation is your body's immune response and its way of protecting itself against illnesses and injuries.

However, persistent inflammation is when the body doesn't stop the immune response, putting a strain on the body and causing problems. Chronic inflammation is linked to an increased risk of conditions such as obesity, type II diabetes and heart disease.

Thankfully, practising a prudent approach to health can help, such as regular dental checks, undertaking moderate exercise, taking the full dose of antibiotics to prevent prolonged infection and consuming an anti-inflammatory diet.

Foods that should be avoided include:

- Sugar (e.g. anything ending with '-ose', any kind of syrup, honey)

- Processed carbohydrates (e.g. white bread, biscuits, chips, crisps)

- Processed meats (e.g. poor-quality bacon and sausages)

- Vegetable and seed oils (including margarine)

- Trans-fats (e.g. foods containing partially hydrogenated ingredients)

- Excessive alcohol consumption

Following a minimally processed Mediterranean-style diet is a great way of including a host of anti-inflammatory foods.

Foods particularly good at fighting inflammation include:

- peppers, chillies and tomatoes

- mushrooms, broccoli and green, leafy vegetables (e.g. spinach and kale)

- deeply-coloured fruits (e.g. berries, pomegranates and cherries)

- oranges

- foods containing healthy fats (e.g. oily fish, extra virgin olive oil and avocados)

- lean meat (grass-fed is best)

- almonds and walnuts

- green tea

- garlic, ginger and turmeric (black pepper needs to be consumed with turmeric to

enhance its absorption by the body)

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