Most diseases are caused by a common culprit

What you eat can spark the leading cause of many diseases – inflammation.

The one leading cause of disease

If you have arthritis or asthma, then chances are you have something in common with sufferers of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, depression and Alzheimer’s.

That is not to suggest that if you have one of these illnesses you are more likely to contract one of the others. But there is a common culprit behind these diseases – low-grade inflammation.

Since it was dubbed ‘the secret killer’ in a Time magazine article a decade ago, considerable research has been done to understand if inflammation can be circumvented.

Increasingly, researchers are looking into how modern diets could be increasing the level of what is essentially the body’s frontline response to tissue trauma.

Inflammation kicks in even when you acquire something as minor as a splinter in your finger. It is a mechanism that is supposed to limit infection and allow the body to begin healing.

But in cases where the body’s regulatory mechanism of inflammation is defective or the ability to clear damaged tissue and foreign substances is impaired, the response can get out of control and lead to disease.

Among the measures you can take to stay on top of potential inflammation is asking your doctor to order blood tests and watching what types of foods you eat.

Recently, Spanish researchers put a dietary inflammatory index under the microscope and their results showed “strong and consistent support for the hypothesis that a pro-inflammatory diet is associated with increased all-cause mortality”.

Among the findings were that red meat, processed foods high in sugar, unhealthy fats and food additives all promoted inflammation, a report in The Age revealed.

Foods that were anti-inflammatory included extra virgin olive oil, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, herbs, spices, whole grains and red wine.

Plants high in polyphenols, such as kale, blueberries and salmon, are also thought to be good at fighting inflammation.

Writing for The Age, Adjunct Senior Research Fellow and nutritionist at the University of South Australia Natalie Parletta said: “Although the impact of chronic inflammation is not immediate nor obvious, this research suggests that food is inflaming people.

“And a diet with a higher anti-inflammatory potential is likely to reduce many potential causes of premature death.

“So treat your body. Tuck into some grilled salmon with succulent vegetables infused with extra virgin olive oil, a spicy vegetable curry with dal or a warm Mediterranean roast vegetable salad with quinoa and parsley, topped with mint yoghurt.

“The benefits appear to be greater than previously thought.”

Do you know if you suffer from inflammation? What tips can you share to help reduce inflammation? Will you ask your doctor to order a blood test to check for inflammation?


    Disclaimer: This article contains general information about health issues and is not advice. For health advice, consult your medical practitioner.


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    16th Jul 2018
    With the price of red meats going out of the reach of Age Pensioners, we should be not be affected too much.
    16th Jul 2018
    So SUGAR is not the culprit? Normally blamed for every ailment under the sun.
    16th Jul 2018
    Just for today, MICK. Tomorrow it will be something else again.
    You can be sure they will find the one thing you like and pick on that.
    16th Jul 2018
    Nah, sugar was included in the list of bad-for-you stuff. This is hardly new, as the article admits the research was done a decade ago ... it always irritates me when these food busybodies advocate for a vegetarian diet, with only fish being allowed. In my view, the only good fish is battered with chippies. How about chicken and other white meats? They always go on about red meats, never bother to mention that it's important to get protein [and iron plus a whole lot of other goodies like amino acids] from meat!

    Sorry, this seems to me to be just another of those food fad things.
    16th Jul 2018
    Salmon is only good for you if its wild Salmon. I don't think that even appears on the supermarket shelves anymore.
    16th Jul 2018
    No but the independent fishmongers still have it.
    16th Jul 2018
    Inflammation, pain and other stresses create a cycle of OXIDATIVE STRESS, the apparent cause of MANY chronic health issues. We now have the means to considerably reduce this inflammation and stress overnight or even in just a few hours, so could be a great option for ANYBODY, any AGE suffering with these stresses.
    OXIDATIVE STRESS can be eased over time with diet and even over 2 to 3 months with expensive supplements. The means available now is near immediate and only cost around the price of a cup of coffee and can be a life saver for many people.
    Search Dr Cathcart Oxidative Stress
    16th Jul 2018
    I changed my diet 12-months who because I had constantly blocked sinuses, caught colds too often - that usually turned into chest infections - and had stomach cramps & bloating.

    We now cook with cold pressed virgin olive oil, and add garlic, ginger & turmeric to most main meals; Have a diet high in nuts, fruits & veg; Regularly eat fish & chicken, and have a steak once a week; Have cut out gluten & dairy and many processed foods (including cakes & biscuits) and have lost over 12 kg in the last year - feel fantastic.

    No colds / blocked sinuses / chest infections since then. I think there def is something in this anti-inflammatory foods message!
    16th Jul 2018
    The contribution of low grade inflammation to certain diseases has been known for 20 years, hence the recommendation to take daily low dose aspirin - but that can come with sixe effects depending upon your tolerance for aspirin. What are the markets for inflammation in a blood test? It would have been useful if that had been mentioned. Off to Google...
    16th Jul 2018
    Just common sense, what you eat effects your health, didn't some Greek person about 2,000+ years ago say "let food be thy medicine"!!!!!! but no we know better in this so called modern age of "modern" medicine, when we have never been more sicker, get a pill to fix this but then another pill to fix what the first pill did in causing something else.
    16th Jul 2018
    Many people are getting well and reversing disease and inflammation on a low fat wholefood plant diet with no oils, see these websites: and
    The claim that olive oil is good for you is a myth, it is pure fat and adds way too many dense calories that causes weight gain. As for fish, no fish is free of mercury these days and you are better off eating seaweed than the fish.
    17th Jul 2018
    Get plenty greens, baaahhhhaaa - reconstituted in the form of lamb or beef skewered over the barbie, only way to go, oh and lay on a goodly portion of myth to complement the diet.
    Eat for your own happiness, die when the time is right and desist from chasing the elusive dream that you're gonna live forever.
    Seaweed salad anyone ?

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