What’s inflammation and how to reduce it

Chronic low-grade inflammation is a steady, low-level inflammation throughout the body that indicates disease risk and is measured by analysing the GlycA (a biomarker) level in your blood. We made it into a health indicator that translates your inflammation-related health data into one easy-to-understand score. Here's more on how chronic inflammation affects your health and ways to reduce it.

Don’t confuse low-grade inflammation with the swellings you get around your tissues around an injury or infections. That’s acute inflammation –– sign of a healthy body doing its job of fighting damage and healing. Chronic low-grade inflammation, on the other hand, doesn’t belong in a healthy body. It’s often related to excess fat mass, especially in the abdominal region. Recent scientific studies have found that this kind of inflammation plays a central role in the development of chronic diseases like diabetes and heart illnesses. Thus, it is an important health indicator to measure and keep under check.

A biomarker that affects inflammation the most: GlycA

One-score summary

Blood values are difficult to understand without medical knowledge. My Nightingale, therefore, summaries all these biomarker results into one easy-to-understand score that maxes at 100. The higher you score, the better are your inflammation values.

How to improve your inflammation score

Medical science says weight management is crucial to control low-grade inflammation. As you probably know, both diet and exercise help in keeping a healthy weight. However, recent studies have found that your sleeping quality and stress also influences inflammation.

Diet

Studies show a wholesome fibre-rich diet with lots of greens is ideal to reduce inflammation.

Medical science shows switching to meals that have less meat and include a lot of greens, fruits, nuts and wholegrain that include a lot of vitamins and other antioxidant compounds can help in reducing inflammation. So, for example, you can try the traditional Mediterranean diet. There are many food items and supplements in the market that promise to lower inflammation, but remember that it is the totality of your diet that counts the most –– an exotic berry extract does not help a lot if most of your diet is unhealthy. So, make sure that you include the antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies to your daily diet and leave the fast foods and sweets for rare occasions.

Exercise

Studies show just 20 minutes of daily exercise can help reduce low-grade inflammation.

For weight maintenance, almost any activity is good. Best is to have variety in your activities and have a weekly schedule that helps you get 2 to 3 hours exercise. It can be anything –– a dancing class that you attend regularly, a circuit training at the gym once a week, and long walks during the weekend. You can also aim to have shorter sessions of 20-30 minutes every day if that fits your lifestyle better.

Habits

New studies have found that sleep and stress also influence low-grade chronic inflammation.

New studies have found that 7 to 8 hours of good sleep and reducing stress levels can lower inflammation. Chronic sleep deprivation, a state where you have had very little sleep for a very long period can induce inflammation. Sleeping deprivation also hinders you from keeping up with other healthy lifestyle habits. It is very hard to do any physical activity if you are feeling tired. Also, studies have shown that making healthy food choices is more difficult when one is tired.

Along with inflammation, My Nightingale blood analysis gives you over 20 different health results from a single blood sample. It includes a health index that gives an overview of your health, 6 health indicators –– heart age, diabetes resistance, fatty acid balance, inflammation, cholesterol balance and blood sugar –– that provide one-score summaries of different aspects of your wellbeing and numerous other biomarkers (such as GlycA, omegas, glucose and BCAAs) that give an in-depth insight into your metabolic health.