If you keep up with health news, you may know that inflammation is often at the root of metabolic problems, like high blood pressure, obesity, high triglycerides, high blood glucose, and type 2 diabetes. Inflammation is a process in your body that helps you heal from wounds and other urgent issues, but too much of it can lead to serious chronic health conditions. This is why researchers are always looking for new ways to lower inflammation and prevent it from leading to bigger problems. A recent study published in the journal Nature Medicine has shown that fasting, or limiting your food intake in other ways, is linked to lower levels of inflammation.
Researchers at the Section of Comparative Medicine at the Yale School of Medicine looked at mice and human immune system cells in a lab. They found that fasting, or restricting calories, causes the body to make a substance called BHB. This substance blocks the kind of inflammation–called NLRP3–responsible for diseases like Alzheimer’s, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. The study also showed that you can make BHB with high-intensity exercise and a very low-carb meal plan (sometimes called a ketogenic diet). However, more long-term research would be needed to know if very little carbohydrate effects inflammation in a negative way.
If you have–or are at risk for–type 2 diabetes and other metabolic conditions, you may want to try these steps to lower inflammation. However, you should always talk to your healthcare provider before trying out fasting, as it can be dangerous for people with diabetes. In the meantime, here are a few other ways to keep inflammation in check:
- Get enough high quality sleep every night (at least 7 hours for adults)
- Find ways to relax every day
- Get regular physical activity, including some high-intensity exercise each week
- Eat a balanced meal plan full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and healthy fats